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The Technical Services 


Harry C. Thomson 

Peter C. i 


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-60000 

Kent Roberts Greenfield f General Editor* 

Advisory Committee 

(As of 1 January 1954) 

Brig. Gen. Verdi B. Barnes 
Army War College 
Brig. Gen. Leonard J. Greeley 
Industrial College of the Armed Forces 
Brig. Gen. Elwyn D. Post 

Army Field Forces 
Col, Thomas D. Stamps 
United States Military Academy 
Col. C. E. Beauchamp 
Command and General Staff College 
Charles H, Taylor 
Harvard University 

Maj. Gen. Albert C. Smith, Chief** 

Chief Historian Kent Roberts Greenfield 

Chief, War Histories Division Col. George G. O'Connor 

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division Lt. Col. Thomas E, Bennett 

Chief, Editorial Branch Joseph R. Friedman 

Chief, Cartographic Branch Wsevolod AglaimofF 

Chief, Photographic Branch Maj. Arthur T. Lawry 

♦General Editor for Technical Service volumes, Ll. Col. Leo J. Meyer, Deputy Chief Historian. 
•♦Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward was succeeded by General Smith on 1 February 1953. 

James P. Baxter 
President, Williams College 
John D. Hicks 
University of California 
William T. Hutchinson 

S. L. A, Marshall 

Detroit News 
Charles S. 


. . . to Those Who Served 


The U.S. Army fought World War II with materiel much of which was 
developed in the decade prior to our entry, particularly in the period following 
the German blitz in Poland. 

Our efforts to develop munitions to the point where our armies could cope 
on equal terms with those of potential enemies are covered here in this, the first 
of three projected volumes on the history of the Ordnance Department in World 
War II. How well the Ordnance Department succeeded in matching the Ger- 
mans in quality continues to be a matter of debate both within the Ordnance 
Department itself, and between the using arms and the Department. That the 
battle of quantity was won — with the help of a superb industrial machine — 
can hardly be denied. 

This volume, the result of diligent research by Dr. Constance McL. Green 
and her associates, should interest not only military men but also scientists, 
industrialists, and laymen in general. Among other things, it shows the urgent 
necessity of a directed, continuous, and intensive research program and the 
danger in failing to recognize and profit by developments abroad. Also shown 
is the inherent time interval between the drawing board and the production of 
the end item in quantity. 

Washington, D.G. 
15 January 1953 

Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 
Chief of Military History 


Note on the Authors 

Constance McLaughlin Green, the principal author of this volume, holds 
a Ph.D. degree in history from Yale University. Before entering government 
service, first as Historian, Springfield Armory, and later as Chief Historian, 
Ordnance Historical Branch, she taught at the University of Chicago, Smith 
College, and Mount Holyoke College. Her extensive writings and lectures in 
American local, social, and economic history have won her widespread recogni- 
tion as an authority in these fields both in this country and abroad. She is at 
present the historian of the Research and Development Board, Department of 

Harry C. Thomson received his doctorate in government from Harvard 
University. During World War II he was a historian with the Army Air Forces, 
serving both as an enlisted man and a commissioned officer. Since 1948 he has 
been a member of the Ordnance Historical Branch, which he now heads. 

Peter C. Roots has a B. S. degree in Foreign Service and a law degree from 
Georgetown University. Before joining the Army, in which he served with 
Ordnance units between 1942 and 1945, he was the production manager of a 
machine tool plant in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1948 he accepted employment in the 
Translation Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, and later trans- 
ferred to the Ordnance Historical Branch. He is now practicing law. 



This volume treats of the problems of a great Army agency and its prewar 
and wartime research and development programs. It is directed primarily to the 
men and women whose responsibility it is to make the U.S. Army the most ef- 
fective possible tool of national defense. Technical history rarely makes light 
reading and this book is not intended to supply diversion for the casual reader. 
Yet inasmuch as many more Americans than ever before are today concerned 
with military affairs, others than Army staff planners may find this analysis of 
the Ordnance Corps' past of interest and use. 

The scheme of treatment of the three projected volumes of Ordnance history 
is basically chronological. This first volume undertakes to discuss the steps that 
precede manufacture of munitions. The second volume will cover the problems 
of computing quantities to be ordered, the processes of production and procure- 
ment by purchase, and the tasks of distribution and maintenance of equipment 
in the zone of the interior. A third volume will be dedicated to the operations of 
Ordnance overseas. 

To provide essential background this book includes a rather lengthy analy- 
sis of pre- 1940 difficulties and a rapid sketch of the confused interim when the 
United States hovered between peace and war. Discussion of the vital prelimi- 
naries to efficient wartime functioning follows in chapters describing the evolu- 
tion of a workable organization and the recruiting and training of soldiers and 
civilians to carry out the Ordnance mission. The last section of the book deals 
with research and development of weapons, the process that in a scientific age 
necessarily also precedes production of materiel. 

Special recognition must be accorded Lida Mayo who, though a latecomer 
to the staff and hence not listed as an author on the title page, assembled the 
data and wrote the sections on self-propelled artillery, mines and mine ex- 
ploders, terminal ballistics, and bombs. Dr. Albert E. Van Dusen, now Assistant 
Professor of American History at the University of Connecticut, made a valu- 
able contribution in collecting and sifting the materials upon which much of 
Chapters II and VII are based. Several chapters are the work of more than one 
individual. Peter C. Roots wrote the story of German rearming contained in 
Chapter IX, the first half of Chapters X and XI, and the section on armor plate 
in Chapter XIII. Dr. Harry C. Thomson, the sole author of the chapters on 
over-all organization, military training, civilian personnel, and conservation of 
materials, also wrote most of the second part of Chapters X and XI, Mrs. Mayo, 
as noted, prepared the section on self-propelled artillery in Chapter X, the 


second half of Chapter XII, the bulk of Chapter XIII, and the entire chapter 
on bombs. The rest of the volume is the work of the Chief Ordnance Historian, 
upon whom rests also responsibility for the plan of the whole. 

Throughout this book the authors have been obliged to omit discussion of 
numerous interesting, frequently significant, elements of the whole story of plan- 
ning weapons. Selection has been chiefly dictated by consideration of contro- 
versial data, where the Ordnance Corps believes misapprehensions prevail. 
Thus the tank has received first attention, at the cost of nearly total exclusion of 
motor transport and of merely sketchy description of the evolution of self-pro- 
pelled artillery. Even much of the tank story is untold, partly because space for- 
bade, and partly because treatment of some features would have had to be so 
highly technical as to make it meaningless to anyone save the automotive en- 
gineering expert. The development of cross-drive tank transmissions, for exam- 
ple, has been dismissed with a word,, not because this innovation was unimpor- 
tant, but because explanation of its distinctive features would require many 
pages of complex engineering data. 

Some readers, observing the nature of the documentation, may be disturbed 
by the degree of reliance the authors have placed upon Ordnance records. 
Could this volume be regarded as an attempt to produce a definitive history, 
the failure to exhaust the sources revealing the reverse of the coin would consti- 
tute a serious charge against the Ordnance historians. At no point have we as- 
pired to so big an undertaking. Justifications for deliberately narrowing the task 
are several. First is the obvious impossibility of exhaustive research when staff 
was small and time relatively short. Ordnance records of World War II located 
in the Federal Records Center in Alexandria and in the Pentagon run to some 
22,000 linear feet. Extracting the most pertinent data from that mass generally 
precluded more than sampling the voluminous records of other branches of the 
Army. Only where historians of other services and arms have screened these col- 
lateral materials have the Ordnance historians been able to examine thoroughly 
the counterarguments on controversial issues. Furthermore, the Ordnance 
Corps has expected its historians to present its side of the story as fully as possi- 
ble. And, finally, the events under review are too recent to permit of any final 
appraisal, any fully rounded, wholly objective narrative. We can but hope that 
this first historical draft will have distilled a concentrate of some value from 
which the historian in time to come, by refining and by adding distillates from 
other studies, can prepare the authoritative history of a complicated but stirring 

The authors are heavily indebted to Mrs. Irene House, research assistant in 
the Ordnance Historical Branch, whose ingenuity in locating elusive sources 
and whose patience in assembling a multiplicity of irksome detail have insured 
the volume an accuracy it would otherwise have lacked. The index is wholly 
the work of Mrs. House. Miss Feril M. Cowden of the Historical Branch has in 
turn contributed greatly to the format of the manuscript. Acknowledgments 
for assistance are also due to a host of men and women in the Office of the Chief 
of Ordnance, to the custodians of the records in Alexandria, to the staff of the 
National Archives where the materials of pre- 1941 years are housed, and to the 


authors of preliminary studies of particular Ordnance items or particular tasks. 
And the work of historians of other segments of the Army has been a constant 
boon, correcting, at least in part, an otherwise one-sided view of Ordnance prob- 
lems. Finally, thanks go to the editor, Miss Mary Ann Bacon of the Office of 
Military History, whose sound sense of literary style improved much of the text, 
and to Mrs. Loretto Stevens, who did the copy editing. 

In writing this narrative the authors have sedulously endeavored to inter- 
pret the evidence by criteria of sound scholarship. Testimony to some measure 
of success may well lie in the mutually contradictory opinions of reviewers of the 
manuscript. Ordnance officers found many passages overcritical of Ordnance 
performance; officers of other branches thought that presentation frequently 
smacks of the Ordnance "party line." In the Ordnance view, the inadequacies 
of materiel on the battlefields of World War II were the result of the "dead 
hand" of the using arms, which blocked development of weapons badly needed 
before the war was over. Combat officers, on the other hand, point to the failure 
of the Ordnance Department to produce many items for some of which require- 
ments date back to 1919. If the proponents of neither extreme be satisfied, we 
dare believe we have struck a judicious golden mean, 

15 November 1951 
Washington, D.G. 

Chief Ordnance Historian 



Chapter Page 




Early History 14 

World War I 20 


Organization, 7979-39 32 

The Budget 40 

Industrial Mobilization Plans 50 

Field Service 59 


The Period of Limited Emergency 65 

The Period of Unlimited Emergency 67 

Shipment of Ordnance "Surplus" After Dunkerque and lis Consequences . 72 


1940-45 83 

The Early Months of 7940 83 

Organizational Developments, June 7940 to June 1942 88 

Relations with Army Service Forces 90 

The Latter Half of 7942 95 

Decentralization of the Ordnance Department 1 06 

Developments, 7943-45 114 


Ordnance Schools, 1920-40 122 

7940 Plans for Training 123 

The Ordnance School at Aberdeen, 7940-45 124 

Replacement Training 131 

Unit Training 139 

Bomb Disposal Training 147 


Growth of the Working Force, 7938-45 152 

Recruiting Ordnance Workers 153 

The Struggle for Delegated Authority 156 

The Influence of ASF Personnel Policies 158 


Chapter Page 


Training Ordnance Workers 161 

Employee Relations 164 


The Westervelt Board Report 169 

Developments in Ammunition 172 

Development of Combat Vehicles 189 

Influence of Budgetary Restrictions 204 

The Role of Technical Intelligence 208 


Factors Immediately Conditioning Research and Development 216 

Evolution of Organized Research and Development 220 

Relations with Civilian Agencies 226 

Relations with Other Military Agencies 232 

Relations with Theatres of Operations 239 

Problems of Standardization and Limited Procurement 239 



Ordnance Research and Development in the German Army 246 

Limitations Upon American Ordnance Research and Development . . . 256 

Technical Intelligence 259 

Collaboration with Allied Nations 267 



Factors Determining Vehicular Development 275 

Engines 287 

Flotation for Tracked Vehicles 301 

Flotation for Wheeled Vehicles 310 

Self -Propelled Artillery 314 

Airborne Equipment 317 

Par aerates 32 1 

Trucks 322 



The Scope of the Problem 324 

Increasing Muzzle Velocities 326 

Rocket Launchers 328 

Recoil less Rifles 330 

Very Heavy Artillery: "Little David" 331 

Fire Control 333 


Chapter Page 

TION 346 

Barrel Rifling and Design of Projectiles jor Conventional Weapons . . . 346 

Special Projectiles To Give Hypervelocily 348 

Propellants for Conventional Weapons 350 

Design of Projectiles for New Weapons 352 

Rocket Propellants 353 

The Bazooka Rocket 355 

Fuzes 361 

High Explosives 366 

Special Purpose Projectiles 370 


Armor Plate 374 

Body Armor 379 

Land Mines 380 

Mine Exploders 387 

Controlled Underwater Mines 394 


Volume of Fire for Defense Against Low-Flying Aircraft 403 

Artillery Fire for Defense Against Close-in Attack 407 

Defense Against Fast-Flying Aircraft at High Altitudes 41 1 

The Search for High Velocity 414 

Fire Control and Tracking Devices 416 

Proximity Fuzes 420 



The Problem of Speed 422 

The Problem of Effective Striking Power 430 

The Problem of Functioning at High Altitude 438 


Air Cannon 440 

Rockets 443 


Developments to 1940 451 

Blast Versus Fragmentation, 1940-41 453 

Chemical Bombs 455 

Fuzes 457 

The New Role of Fragmentation Bombs 459 

Use of New Explosives 462 

Use of Air Bursts 464 


Chapter Page 
XVII. BOMBS— Continued 

The Search for More Powerful Bombs 466 

The Role of Pyrotechnics 468 

Problems of High-Altitude Bombing 470 

The Development Program, 1945 470 

Testimony of the World War II Record 472 


Early Neglect of Conservation 475 

Principles of the Conservation Program 477 

Steel and Its Alloys 480 

Copper and Its Alloys 486 

Aluminum 495 

Rubber 498 

Preservative Materials 505 




INDEX 527 


1. Total Appropriations for the Ordnance Department Compared with Total 

Appropriations for the Military Activities of the War Department . . 41 

2. Employees and Payroll at Springfield Armory 43 

3. Ordnance Department Military and Civilian Strength: 1919-41 ... 44 

4. Proposed Ten- Year Ordnance Program 45 

5. Requests and Appropriations: September 1939-May 1940 67 

6. Appropriations for Ordnance Service and Supplies Army, by Type of 

Funds and by Project: Fiscal Year 1941 68 

7. Appropriations for Ordnance Service and Supplies Army, by Type of 

Funds and by Project: Fiscal Year 1942 70 

8. Appropriations for Ordnance Service and Supplies: Fiscal Year 1943 . . 72 

9. Civilian Accident Frequency Rates at ASF Installations 161 

10. Partial Summary of Caliber Board Report 171 

11. Ordnance Department Total Appropriations and Appropriations for Re- 

search and Development: Fiscal Years 1921-40 206 

12. Comparison of 5-inch and 4.5-inch Rockets 449 

13. Steel Cartridge Cases in World War II 491 

14. Summary of Conversions to Synthetic Rubber by V-J Day 505 



jVo. Page 

1. Organization of the Ordnance Department: 31 July 1939 84 

2. Organization of the Industrial Service 86 

3. Organization of the Ordnance Department: 1 February 1942 89 

4. Ordnance in the Organization of the Army: 1942-45 92 

5. Organization of the Ordnance Department: 1 September 1942 97 

6. Organization of the Tank-Automotive Center 109 

7. Organization of the Ordnance Department: 6 July 1 944 115 

8. Organization of the Research and Development Service: 1 July 1945 . , . 224 

9. Power for Tanks 289 

10. Percent Distribution of Steel Used, by Army Agency: 3d Quarter 1942 and 

1943 481 

11. Steel Alloys Required per Medium Tank (M4), with and without Conser- 

vation Measures 485 

12. Percent Distribution of Copper Used, by Army Agency: 4th Quarter, 

1943 487 

13. Percent Distribution of Copper Used by Ordnance Department, by Type 

of Materiel: 4th Quarter, 1943 488 

14. Copper Requirements for Ordnance Materiel: 1943 494 

15. Percent Distribution of Aluminum Used, by Army Agency: 4th Quarter, 

1942 495 

16. Percent Distribution of Aluminum Used by the Ordnance Department, by 

Type of Materiel: 4th Quarter, 1942 496 

17. Aluminum Requirements for Ordnance Materiel: 1943 499 

18. Monthly Average Use of Synthetic Rubber by the Ordnance Department: 

4th Quarter 1 942-3d Quarter 1 943 503 


Springfield Armory 15 

Maj. Gen. William B. Crozier 26 

Maj. Gen. Clarence C. Williams 27 

Maj. Gen. William H. Tschappat 39 

Maj. Gen. Samuel Hof 40 

Maj. Gen. Charles M. Wesson 85 

Maj, Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr 96 

Factory Training Class 1 26 

Street-Fighting Training Exercise 1 37 

Ceremonial Dance at Dedication of the Indian Village 153 

Women Inspectors 155 

John C. Garand 176 

The 75-mm. Gun M1923E 179 

The 75-mm. Pack Howitzer Ml 920 181 

The 37-mm. Gun M1916 183 



Medium Tank T3 201 

Maj. Gen. Gladeon M. Barnes 220 

Panzer II, the "Lynx" 254 

8 Rad Panzerspahwagen 254 

The "Panther" 255 

Panzer VI, the "Tiger" 255 

Heavy Tank M6 and Medium Tank M3 279 

Medium Tank M4, the Sherman, and Heavy Tank M26, the Pershing , . . 285 

Track Extensions 303 

Multiple Rocket Launcher T34 330 

75-mm. Recoilless Rifle M20, and the "Little David" 914-mm. Mortar Tl . . 332 

German 28/20-mm. Antitank Gun 349 

The Bazooka 358 

VT Fuze 365 

Rifle Grenades 369 

Body Armor 380 

Land Mines 383 

Mine Exploders 391 

Controlled Mine System and the M3A1 Mine 395 

Antiaircraft Guns 409 

90-mm. Antiaircraft Gun 412 

German 88-mm. at Porte Ferraio, Elba 415 

Fire Control Instruments 418 

Metallic Link Belt 426 

20-mm. Aircraft Guns 434 

Aircraft Rocket Installations 447 

Bombs 456 

The Parafrag Bomb in Action 460 

All illustrations are from Department of Defense Files. 




The Ordnance Task In 
World War II 

Ordnance is fighting equipment. It is 
the weapons, the ammunition, the armored 
and transport vehicles that give an armed 
force its striking power in battle. The Ord- 
nance Department, in 1950 renamed Ord- 
nance Corps, is that segment of the U.S. 
Army responsible for design, procurement, 
distribution, and maintenance of ordnance 
for the Army Ground Forces. During 
World War II it also supplied the Air 
Forces and, in some categories, the Navy 
as well. 

Unlike England, France, and Germany, 
the United States has never sponsored pri- 
vate manufacturing establishments that 
specialized in the design and production of 
heavy munitions. Instead of relying upon 
a Vickers-Armstrong, a Schneider-Creusot, 
or a Krupp, this country from its begin- 
ning followed the policy of assigning re- 
sponsibility for Army munitions supply to 
a special government agency, the Ord- 
nance Department of the Army. A few 
commercial concerns, to be sure, acquired 
over the years technical skills in making 
small arms and ammunition, explosives 
and propellants, skills that in wartime sim- 
plified the problems of conversion from 
civilian to war production. But the Ord- 
nance Department itself undertook devel- 
opment and manufacture of ordnance or 

directly supervised the work placed with 
private contractors. 

Design to meet the weapon specifica- 
tions of the infantry, the artillery, the ar- 
mored forces, and the air forces; manufac- 
ture or purchase of items produced exactly 
to those design specifications; storage, in- 
spection, and issue of all this materiel; 
maintenance by replacement of parts and 
by complete overhaul and reconditioning; 
and, finally, salvage — these constituted the 
mission of the Ordnance Department in 
World War II. 1 

Small arms included rifles, pistols, car- 
bines, submachine guns, machine guns up 
to and including .50-caliber, recoilless 
rifles, grenade launchers, and bazookas. 
Artillery ranged from 20-mm. aircraft 
cannon and 76-mm. tank guns through the 
experimental 914-mm. mortar. Supplying 
ammunition for these weapons was com- 
plicated by the development of special 
purpose ammunition, such as incendiary, 
illuminating, armor-piercing, and smoke. 
Besides aircraft bombs, there were new 
guided missiles, special fuzes, demolition 
charges, land mines, submarine coastal de- 
fense mines, and flares and other pyro- 
technics. Assigned responsibility for com- 

1 WD SOS Organization Manual, 1942. Sec. 



bat vehicles from World War I onward 
and, after mid- 1942, for transport vehicles 
also, the Ordnance Department had to 
supply tanks, gun motor carriages, ar- 
mored cars, 'A-ton "jeeps," trucks, heavy 
tractors for tank salvage, amphibious troop 
and cargo carriers, and all the many vari- 
ations of these. Nor did the list end there. 
In the course of World War II the Depart- 
ment issued some 1,860 different models of 
major pieces of fighting equipment; of 
these about 1,200 were models of new or 
improved design. And into these went over 
350,000 parts. 2 

The chain of command under which the 
Department performed these various 
duties was altered somewhat when the re- 
organization of the War Department took 
effect in March 1942. During the preced- 
ing twenty-odd years the Under Secretary 
of War, by authority delegated from the 
President of the United States through the 
Secretary of War, was charged with super- 
vising procurement of Army supplies. He 
served as the civilian chief for Ordnance, 
as for all other supply services. 3 After the 
reorganization of the War Department in 
March 1942, which divided the Army in 
the continental United States into the 
Army Ground Forces, the Army Air 
Forces, and the Services of Supply, the 
Under Secretary of War acted as civilian 
supervisor to the Commanding General, 
Services of Supply, or, as it was relabeled 
in 1943, the Army Service Forces. That 
general now represented all of the supply 
services in their relations with the Under 
Secretary. The latter maintained contact 
with the heads of the civilian economy and 
chiefs of other war agencies, thereby guid- 
ing production for the Army in order to 
keep a balance among the groups compet- 
ing for supplies. 

Before March 1942 the traditional line 

of military command of the Ordnance De- 
partment had been from the Chief of Staff 
through the General Staff Supply Division, 
usually known as G-4. Creation of the 
Army Service Forces interjected another 
administrative unit between all the operat- 
ing or technical services and the Assistant 
Chief of Staff", G-4. Thus, after March 
1942 and throughout the war, the Ord- 
nance Department performed its mission 
under the immediate direction of the 
Commanding General, Army Service 
Forces, and no longer enjoyed direct access 
to the Chief of Staff or to the Under Secre- 
tary of War. The "higher authority" to 
which the Chief of Ordnance was subordi- 
nate consisted of his immediate superior, 
Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, command- 
ing the Army Service Forces, and his as- 
sistant chiefs of staff; the Supply Division, 
G-4, of the General Staff; the Chief of 
Staff himself; the Under Secretary of War; 
the Secretary of War; and the President in 
his capacity of Commander in Chief of the 
Army. 1 

Military equipment for many years past 
has differed markedly from articles for or- 
dinary nonmilitary use. Even where items 
are of the same general category, differ- 
ences exist between what is necessary for 
the Army and what suffices for the civilian. 
The military requirements of ruggedness 
and power far exceed what the civilian 
usually demands. Army rifles and Army 
trucks must first and foremost be capable 
of operating under the most adverse cir- 
cumstances, regardless of the dollar cost of 
achieving that dependability. The .22 
rifles, produced in the United States by 

2 Min, Joint Army-Navy (A&N) mtg on Army Ord 
R&D, 1 Oct 45, p. 1, A&N Mtgs, Barnes filn. OHF 

:i PL 89 1, 76th Com?, 3d Sess. See also |Chart T] p. 

4 (1) WD SOS Orga nization Manual, 1942, Sees. 
102.04 and 200.01. (2) [Chart 2 J p. 86. 



thousands for farm boys who hunt rabbits 
and woodchucks, and the trucks manufac- 
tured for commercial use can be of rela- 
tively cheap construction, both because 
durability is rarely a matter of life and 
death to the purchasers and because initial 
price tends to be a big consideration in de- 
termining the purchase. Furthermore, 
many items of military equipment have no 
civilian counterpart at all. Large-caliber 
guns, artillery ammunition and fuzes, ma- 
chine guns and their ammunition, tanks 
and other armored vehicles are produced 
solely for use by the armed forces. For 
these the toughest steels, the most power- 
ful explosives, the most highly powered 
engines are needed. Hence, the first task 
in ordnance design is to test all materials 
meeting these requirements in order to 
specify the best. Establishment of exacting 
specifications for steels, oils, chemical 
agents, and other materials must be fol- 
lowed by detailed instructions for process- 
ing and gaging. As research and experience 
indicated feasible improvements, the Ord- 
nance Department revised its designs and 

Design of ordnance was not arrived at 
by theory alone. The basic idea for a new 
weapon might stem from any one of vari- 
ous sources, from a private citizen, from a 
commercial company, from combat troops, 
or, of course, from the Ordnance Depart- 
ment itself. The value of any proposal had 
to be thoroughly explored. Information as- 
sembled in the course of wars past was the 
first obvious check; forecast of future needs 
was a second. The using arms, the Infan- 
try, the Coast and Field Artillery, the Air 
Forces, and the Cavalry, later called the 
Armored Force, collaborated closely with 
Ordnance Department designers in deter- 
mining the characteristics needed in any 
given weapon or accessory to fulfill a defi- 

nite military purpose. After March 1942 
the Army Ground Forces and the Army 
Air Forces spoke for the combat arms. But 
the user had the final say about what 
would be acceptable to him. Sometimes 
one desired feature ruled out another; 
maneuverability and high road speed in a 
tank might preclude use . of heavy armor 
plate or powerful guns. What was essential 
for the Infantry might be unimportant for 
the Cavalry and vice versa. Hence deci- 
sions as to what was of primary impor- 
tance, what of secondary, were often hard 
to reach. 5 These questions were resolved 
by the Ordnance Committee, composed of 
members of the Ordnance Department 
and the using services. When the principal 
"military characteristics" were agreed 
upon in the Ordnance Committee, the 
Ordnance Department worked out a de- 
sign, built a pilot model, and subjected it 
to tests. The using arms studied its per- 
formance, suggested, if need be, modifica- 
tions, and later scrutinized the resulting 
modified weapon. If that appeared to be 
acceptable, the Ordnance Department 
made a limited number for test under 
service conditions. The using arm con- 
ducted the final service test. Only when 
both using arm and Ordnance designers 
concurred that the item was satisfactory in 
all essentials did the General Staff author- 
ize the Ordnance Department to officially 
accept, or "standardize" it, and issue or- 
ders for quantity fabrication. In peacetime 

r> Particular testimony to the difficulties of deter- 
mining military characteristics is contained in A 
Handbook of Ordnance Automotive Engineering, 
Aberdeen Proving Ground. 1945, II. 2: "A most nota- 
ble example . . . was the development of combat 
lights. Due to lack of previous experience, neither the 
technical service nor the using arms were in a position 
to more than suggest approximately what was desired 
in light intensity, angle of cutoff, colors, and other 
definite requirements without extensive field tests in- 
volving actual samples." 



this procedure of design, test, refinement, 
service test, acceptance, and, then, order 
for production might stretch over years. In 
wartime the process was necessarily has- 
tened. But perfection of design cannot be 
greatly speeded. The U.S. Army fought 
most of World War II, like earlier wars, 
largely with the types of equipment stand- 
ardized or ready for standardization when 
the conflict began. During World War II 
the Ordnance Department completed few 
significant innovations in weapons that 
reached the front lines in sufficient quan- 
tity and in time materially to affect the 
outcome on the battlefield. 

Large-scale procurement of materiel de- 
clared satisfactory in design was the next 
function of the Ordnance Department. 
Procurement might be by manufacture in 
government arsenals or other government 
plants, or by purchase from commercial 
sources. Quantities and dates of delivery 
had to be worked out with utmost care. 
The General Staff of the Army determined 
the size of the Army, within statutory and 
budgetary limitations, and provided the 
implementing directives so that the tech- 
nical services might then calculate the 
quantities of initial items of equipment 
needed and the volume of replacements. 
Under the aegis of the Army Service Forces 
in World War II, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment evolved its procurement schedules to 
meet the requirements calculated as the 
result of General Staff directives. Compu- 
tation of requirements in order to have 
available the proper quantities at the ex- 
act time and place they were needed was 
an enormously difficult job. Controversy 
with the War Production Board and other 
agencies directing the civilian economy 
was occasionally inevitable. "Too much 
and too late" was the criticism tendered 
by men usually not themselves faced with 

responsibility for making the critical deci- 
sions of how much, when. 

Desired requirements schedules mapped 
out, the Industrial Service of the Ord- 
nance Department took over the job of 
meeting them. Since the six permanent 
government arsenals could produce only a 
small fraction of the volume needed, con- 
tracts with private industry had to be the 
mainstay. Government-owned govern- 
ment-operated plants were far outnum- 
bered by government-owned contractor- 
operated plants and privately owned es- 
tablishments. The Ordnance districts, the 
geographically decentralized offices first 
created in World War I, were in charge of 
making formal contracts, placing orders, 
and supervising production in plants 
other than the government arsenals. The 
staff of each of the thirteen district offices 
controlled the allocations of machine tools 
and raw materials and was accountable 
for government property within its dis- 
trict. The staffs trained inspectors, directed 
the inspection preliminary to acceptance 
of the contractors' output, supervised 
packaging and shipment of the finished 
product, made payments for satisfactorily 
completed orders, renegotiated and termi- 
nated contracts. These operations varied 
in particulars but in general were every- 
where the same. The district offices fur- 
nished the administrative machinery for 
ordnance procurement. 6 

The six permanent Ordnance arsenals 
in peacetime sufficed to supply the Army. 
Each one specialized in particular types of 
ordnance: Springfield Armory in small 
arms; Watervliet Arsenal in cannon; 
Watertown in gun carriages and forgings; 
Rock Island in artillery recoil mechanisms, 

'"' The Ordnance District System, Its Growth and 
Development, 1918-1943, prepared under the direc- 
tion of Brig. Gen. A. B. Quinton, Jr.. OHF. 



gun carriages, and combat vehicles; Frank- 
ford in small arms ammunition, artillery 
projectiles, cartridge cases, optical and 
fire control instruments, gages, and pyro- 
technics; and Picatinny in artillery am- 
munition, explosives, and propellants. In 
these establishments year after year re- 
search and development work went for- 
ward along with manufacturing and main- 
tenance of equipment. While their peak 
productive capacity was never enough to 
meet the needs of a wartime army, the ar- 
senals provided the technical assistance 
that enabled privately owned companies 
to manufacture specialized ordnance when 
expansion was necessary. Here the art of 
munitions manufacture was preserved. 
Not only blueprints of components of 
weapons, ammunition, and vehicles, but 
carefully planned shop layouts and details 
of processing were available for distribution 
to new contractors. The long-term civilian 
employees of the arsenals, men whose ex- 
perience often could be counted in decades 
rather than years, constituted the school- 
masters of firms unfamiliar with the pecu- 
liar problems of ordnance manufacture. 
Consultations over particular difficulties 
helped the commercial contractor produce 
exactly to specification; occasionally dur- 
ing the war, arsenal employees were lent 
to contractors to assist in solving some 
processing problem. Interchangeability 
tests to guarantee that parts of one pro- 
ducer's output were interchangeable with 
those of another were also conducted at 
the arsenals, "Technical responsibility" for 
all Army Ordnance items was divided 
among the six arsenals, so that nothing 
from a cleaning rod to a "blockbuster" was 
fabricated without having experts from 
one or another of the government estab- 
lishments qualified to accept or reject 
every piece. In fact, training men in in- 

spection procedures was one of the arse- 
nals' important functions during the war. 

While the arsenals made a very small 
part of the materiel required and privately 
owned establishments produced most of 
some types of ordnance, neither possessed 
capacity to manufacture all items in suffi- 
cient quantity. Existing plants could be 
readily converted to turn out small arms, 
artillery shell and other metal components, 
fuzes, and transport vehicles. In these fields 
either prewar procurement planning had 
been thorough, or the military item was 
closely enough allied to a civilian article 
to eliminate novel production problems. 
In other fields the reverse was true. No ex- 
isting facility, for example, was adapted to 
mass production of tanks; the original plan 
of fabricating all combat vehicles in shops 
making heavy railway equipment proved 
impractical. For procuring a great deal of 
ordnance, consequently, the best answer 
was found to be newly built govern- 
ment-owned contractor-operated plants — 
GOCO facilities.' Thus the vast, rapid ex- 
pansion was achieved, and government es- 
tablishments, private facilities, and combi- 
nations of the two met demand. By the end 
of 1942 the Ordnance Department was 
conducting the financially largest manu- 
facturing program in the world. 8 Expendi- 
tures between 1940 and V-J Day totaled 
about $46,000,000,000. 

Another duty of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment was to manage the distribution and 
upkeep of materiel. Field Service of the 

' See: (1) Project Supporting Paper 8, Development 
of Production Capacity, OHF (hereafter Project Sup- 
porting Papers are cited as PSP); (2) Ord War Ad- 
ministration History, Series II. No. 11, Facilities, 

* Col. C. Wingate Reed, "The Ordnance Depart- 
ment, What It Is, What It Does," NADA Bulletin 
(published by National Automobile Dealers Associ- 
ation), XV. 4 (1943). 1 1. 



Ordnance Department was responsible for 
storing and issuing both initial equipment 
and spare parts and replacement parts. 
Some twenty-six storage depots in 1940 
housed ordnance supplies, while the depot 
units had the task of keeping accurate rec- 
ords of stocks, receipt, and issue. As out- 
put of manufacturing plants mounted, the 
number of depots and warehouses had also 
to be multiplied. Storage space by 1942 
was ten times that of 1940. In addition to 
ammunition depots, largely built inland 
out of range of carrier-based enemy planes, 
and storage space for weapons and acces- 
sories both for the U.S. Army and for lend- 
lease, the Ordnance Department after 
September 1942 acquired depots from the 
Quartermaster Corps for storage of trans- 
port vehicles and parts. 

When U. S. troops began to move over- 
seas, problems of distribution and record- 
keeping became more complex. Confusion 
might easily have become chaos, for ma- 
teriel in transit was at all times difficult to 
keep track of and supply lines were long. 
In time, the Army Service Forces evolved 
a supply control system under which Ord- 
nance and all other technical services oper- 
ated, but a foolproof scheme of accounting 
and method of maintaining a balanced 
supply of the thousands of components, 
component assemblies, and complete items 
was never wholly achieved. Experience, as 
the war progressed, dictated establishment 
of four types of depot — bulk storage depots, 
master depots to handle selected types of 
ordnance, distribution depots to serve as 
retail distributors, and filler depots for ports 
of embarkation. 

Packaging ordnance materiel had never 
been recognized as a major problem before 
World War II. Neither private industry 
nor government agencies had anticipated 
its importance. But when arms and ammu- 

nition, sensitive electronic devices, and ex- 
pensive engine parts were found to be 
unusable on the combat fronts because of 
improper packing for shipment or outdoor 
storage, Field Service and Industrial Serv- 
ice jointly undertook a careful study of 
packaging. Design of sturdy, compact con- 
tainers, use of desiccants and protective 
surface coatings, exact labeling of boxes, 
and application of engineering principles 
to loading freight cars and trucks had to be 
worked out in detailed procedures for 

A still more exacting assignment for Field 
Service was maintenance of ordnance ma- 
teriel. In peacetime, periodic inspection of 
items in storage, cleaning, overhaul, and 
reconditioning at depot or arsenal were 
more or less routine tasks. In wartime, 
maintenance of equipment being used by 
an army was a job of major proportions. 
For cleaning and minor repairs, the com- 
bat soldier was usually responsible. But 
spare parts had to be available so that he 
could replace a broken firing pin in his rifle 
or put new spark plugs in his tank engine. 
Having the right number of replacement 
parts at the spots where they were needed 
and at the time when they were needed 
was a constant logistical problem. Mobile 
ordnance supply and maintenance units, 
serving immediately in the rear of com- 
bat operations, repaired equipment that 
could be restored to serviceable condition 
promptly. Jobs more time consuming, or 
beyond the capabilities of mobile shops, 
were sent to Ordnance units in the com- 
munications zone. Ordnance troops sal- 
vaged materiel both to rebuild and to ship 
back as scrap to the zone of interior. Main- 
tenance, a tryingjob in this country, was 
an even more difficult task overseas. 

To make proper maintenance possible, 
Field Service, in the office of the Chief of 



Ordnance, prepared a long series of tech- 
nical manuals and bulletins for use in 
training both Ordnance units and using 
troops in the care of equipment. On special 
maintenance problems technical assistance 
was also furnished to commands responsi- 
ble for materiel used by their troops. Of 
utmost importance were the Ordnance cat- 
alogs, popularly called SNL's. which pro- 
vided complete information on spare parts 
stockage and identification data — name, 
number, and photograph of each part or 
assembly. 9 In all, Ordnance required 
about 1,700 different technical publica- 
tions and 2,000 different supply catalogues. 
Preparing and distributing these and then 
keeping this huge publication system up to 
date, in order to cover improvements and 
new information, was a never-ending job. 

Ordnance Department responsibility for 
supply did not end with the issue of mate- 
riel to troops or with consignment at de- 
pots to the Transportation Corps for over- 
seas shipment; it endured until items 
received the "death certificate" and sal- 
vage began. Yet the Chief of Ordnance 
had no command responsibility outside 
this country. Overseas commanders had 
full authority over men and equipment in 
theatres of operations. Thus Ordnance 
units assigned to divisions outside the zone 
of interior were not under the control of 
the Chief of Ordnance, and Ordnance offi- 
cers attached to the staffs of commanders 
in the field could not officially communi- 
cate directly with the Ordnance Depart- 
ment in Washington save on strictly 
technical matters. Technical missions to 
observe functioning of American muni- 
tions, to further the development and use 
of new items, and to note particular prob- 
lems to be met served to keep some con- 
tact, while publications and confidential 
reports abetted translation of field experi- 

ence into action in this country. Moreover, 
personal letters from Ordnance officers in 
the theatres to the Chief of Ordnance in 
Washington kept the headquarters in- 
formed of ordnance problems overseas. 

Ordnance equipment is specialized. Its 
construction and maintenance require 
technical skills. Training Ordnance per- 
sonnel, therefore, is a final, or perhaps 
more logically a first, duty of the Depart- 
ment. Civil Service employees to man the 
arsenals and depots, to administer the 
Ordnance districts, to inspect contractors' 
output, and to carry on much of the paper 
work in the Office, Chief of Ordnance, fall 
into one category, and Army officers and 
enlisted men into another. War Depart- 
ment ceilings on officers forced the Ord- 
nance Department in World War II to use 
civilians on some jobs that officers might 
otherwise have filled, though, like other 
services, the Department commissioned a 
number of men straight from civilian life 
in order to avoid losing them to the draft. 
At the peak, in February 1943, 262,772 
civilian employees, 6,500 officers, and 
13,750 enlisted men were employed by the 
Department's operating missions in the 
continental United States. Over 14,000 
Ordnance officers were assigned by the 
end of March 1945 to overseas com- 
mands. 1 " 

During World War II most of the key 
men in the arsenals, depots, and admin- 
istrative offices brought to their war jobs 
their skills from civilian life. The Ordnance 
Department carried on a large training 
program for inspectors and also trained a 

■' SN'L stands for "Standard Nomenclature List," 
the name used years ago. 

'"(1) ASF Monthly Progress Report. Personnel, 
See. 5. (2) Strength of the Army, prepared for WDGS 
hy Machine Records Br, AGO, under direction of 
Stat Br. GS, STM-30, 1 Apr 45 (hereafter cited as 
Strength of the Army ; STM-30), DRB AGO. 



good many men for depot work. But the 
bulk of operators on production lines in 
war plants were schooled not by the Ord- 
nance Department itself but by Ordnance 
contractors and by the War Manpower 
Commission's Training Within Industry 

Ordnance training for officers and en- 
listed men, though necessarily brief, was 
fairly intensive. To a degree never before 
considered necessary, the Ordnance De- 
partment had to teach raw recruits to be 
soldiers as well as technicians, for in World 
War II Ordnance troops had to function 
close to the front lines and be prepared to 
fight in case of an enemy break-through. 
Technical training itself embraced many 
specialties. Instruction in maintenance and 
repair of automotive and fire control equip- 
ment, of small arms, and of artillery con- 
stituted one kind of training. To prepare 
men to handle distribution of ordnance 
there were courses in ammunition supply, 
vehicle assembly, spare parts handling, and 
general depot work with its infinite detail 
of receipt, issue, and record-keeping. Units 
were trained in such diverse tasks as 
methods of disposing of unexploded enemy 
bombs and waterproofing vehicles for am- 
phibious operations. All told, between 1942 
and V-J Day some forty basic types of 
Ordnance military units, ranging from 
squads to battalions, were activated and 
trained — units for ammunition supply, 
for light, medium, and heavy mainte- 
nance, for automotive repair, and for ar- 
mament and automotive repair in base 
shops. Because enlistment of men already 
possessed of experience in maintaining 
heavy machinery and automotive trans- 
port promised to ease the problems of 
training specialists, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment early in 1942 persuaded the National 
Automobile Dealers Association to organ- 

ize a large-scale recruiting drive for Ord- 
nance "Affiliated Units." The association, 
later assisted by other business organiza- 
tions, supplied some 1,200 officers and 
30,000 enlisted men in a few months' time. 
These men needed relatively little techni- 
cal schooling and rather brief indoctrina- 
tion in Ordnance procedures. As new 
trainees poured into the training centers, 
courses were repeated again and again. 
Several additional training centers had to 
be opened in 1942 as well as "continu- 
ation" schools at some of the depots. The 
334 Ordnance officers and 3,950 enlisted 
men of mid- 1940 grew by D Day in June 
1944 to nearly 24,000 officers and nearly 
325,000 men. 1 ' 1 

The task of the Ordnance Department, 
difficult in any war, was far harder in 
World War II than ever before. Since the 
fighting of the U.S. Army in World War I 
was concentrated on the battlefields of 
northern France and Flanders, in 1917 
and 1918 supplies had to be sent only to 
the Continent and distributed within a rel- 
atively small area. In World W r ar II Amer- 
ican forces were scattered almost literally 
"from Greenland's icy mountains to In- 
dia's coral strand," and Allied nations, in 
part equipped by the United States, were 
fighting in every quarter of the globe. Sup- 
ply lines had to extend in all directions. 
Weapons, ammunition, and vehicles had 
to be designed with the factors of weight 
and bulk constantly in mind so that equip- 
ment could be transported easily. The dis- 
tance from factory to depot in the United 
States, to overseas ammunition dump, or 
to repair shop spelled a costly lapse of time 
for delivery of any replacement item not 

11 ( 1 ) Annual Report of the Secretary of War lo the Presi- 
dent, 1940 (Washington. 1940) (hereafter cited as Ann 
Rpl SIV), pp. 28-29. (2) Strength of the Army, 
STM-30, 1 Jun 44. DRB AGO. 



shipped with the troops in the first place. 
And time might determine the success or 
failure of any tactical operation. Global 
warfare created a nearly overwhelming 
logistical problem for Ordnance, as for all 
the supply services. 

The sheer quantity of ordnance materiel 
required constituted another problem. In 
the Civil War the Ordnance Department 
had furnished arms for somewhat over 
1,500,000 Union soldiers, and in W r orld 
War I for perhaps 4,000,000 men. 1 ' In 
April 1 945 the United States Army totaled 
over 8,290,000 men." Add to the individ- 
ual equipment for these men the machine 
guns, mortars, artillery, ammunition of all 
types, mines, tanks, transport and combat 
vehicles, and the magnitude of the Ord- 
nance task begins to emerge. Some items 
were also made for the Navy and the Ma- 
rine Corps. Furthermore, the United 
States as the "Arsenal of Democracy" had 
to supply much materiel to the British, 
Russians, Free French, Chinese, and other 
allies. Plans to meet these demands were 
nursed by Assistant Secretary of War Louis 
Johnson before 1940 and by his successor, 
Robert Patterson, but most of the respon- 
sibility for carrying out this gargantuan 
undertaking fell upon the Ordnance De- 
partment. "From Pearl Harbor to V-J Day 
the Industry-Ordnance team furnished to 
the Army and 43 foreign nations 47 billion 
rounds of small arms ammunition, approx- 
imately 1 1 million tons of artillery ammu- 
nition, more than 12 million rifles and 
carbines, approximately 750,000 artillery 
pieces, and 3V2 million military vehicles." 1 1 

The job would have been enormous 
even had American industry been pre- 
pared in 1940 to produce munitions on a 
large scale. Many Americans, and particu- 
larly isolationists, were opposed. A consid- 
erable public still branded munitions 

makers as merchants of death. Neither the 
will to participate in an armament pro- 
gram nor the machine tools and shops with 
which to carry it out existed. The "Indus- 
try-Ordnance Team" had to be built up 
from a skeleton organization. Enlisting the 
interest of American manufacturers in 
making munitions was easy in 1942, but 
in 1940 and 1941 was difficult. Only re- 
cently out from the shadow of a business 
depression, industrialists before Pearl Har- 
bor were reluctant to forego opportunities 
to enlarge their civilian markets. More- 
over, even if and when companies were 
willing to accept Ordnance orders, they 
faced a technological problem. To manu- 

12 The official figure for the total number of Civil 
War enlistments. Army and Navy, is 2,400,000, 
though what proportion was Navy is not certain. The 
discrepancy may be accounted for by short-term en- 
listments, which permitted the Ordnance Department 
in some cases to reissue used arms. Thomas L. Liver- 
more considered these figures high and computed the 
total number of men who served for three years as 
1,500,000. See (1) John D. Hicks, The Federal Union 
(Boston, 1937), p. 657, citing Thomas L. Livermore. 
JV umbers and Losses in the Civil War in America. 1861-1865 
(Boston, 1901); and (2) Col. Leonard P. Ayres, The 
War With Germany , A Statistical Summary (Washington. 
1919), p. 13. 

The exact number of men actually equipped by the 
Ordnance Department in World War I is nowhere 
stated. The British and French supplied a great deal 
of the artillery the U.S. Army used in combat, but, on 
the other hand, America furnished the British with 
some small arms. Some 2,086,000 American soldiers 
served in the AEF, Troops in training in this country 
are estimated as bringing the total number to the 
4,000,000 cited here. (1)' Ayrcs, op. at., p. 1 1 ; (2) 
Benedict Crov.cH, America's Munitions, 1917-1918 
(Washington, 1919), p. 16. 

11 Kent R. Greenfield, Robert R. Palmer, and Bell 
I. Wiley, The Organization of Ground Combat Troops 
(Washington, 1947), p. 210. 

14 Lt. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr., The Industry- 
Ordnance Team (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 
New York. 1946), p. 33. The official Army figures 
differ somewhat from those given by General Camp- 
bell. See Theodore E. Whiting el al.. Statistics, a 
volume in preparation for the series UNITED 



facture intricate weapons and ammuni- 
tion, tanks and cargo carriers markedly 
different from vehicles for civilian use, re- 
quires time — time to assemble machines, 
tools, and gages, time to teach workmen 
how to turn out parts made to exacting tol- 
erances. Precision work as it was known in 
many American factories of 1940 was in- 
exact when measured by the ten-thou- 
sandth-inch limits permitted for gun mech- 
anisms and delicate fuze assemblies. It was 
the mission of the Ordnance Department 
to help industry learn how to produce ord- 
nance and produce it quickly enough to 
turn out quantities in time to serve. The 
so-called technological time lag in manu- 
facturing materiel was a problem shared 
in some measure by all the technical serv- 
ices of the armed forces, but was particu- 
larly acute for the Ordnance Department. 

World War II was as different from 
World War I as a future war will be from 
World War II if the predictions of the Cas- 
sandras of the atomic age be fulfilled. The 
trench warfare of 191518 had few coun- 
terparts in the 1940's. Planes, combat ve- 
hicles, and cargo carriers made a war of 
movement. Mobility and maneuverability 
were prime requisites for an efficient army. 
Equipment that could not readily be 
shifted about even in the thick of combat 
was of limited use. The batteries of field 
artillery, in World War I solidly emplaced 
behind the front lines, had either to be 
mounted on self-propelled gun carriages 
or supplied with motorized tractors to tow 
them. Towed artillery, though extensively 
used, tended to slow the advance. Enemy 
planes and fast-moving tanks in turn ne- 
cessitated more rapid and accurate sight- 
ing and fire. Motorization, while militating 
against the miseries of trench warfare, cre- 
ated its own supply problems, and main- 
tenance of vehicles became a never-ending 

job. Furthermore, use of tanks called for 
countermeasures — fields of land mines. To 
met this hazard Army Ordnance had to 
develop mine exploders, as well as mines 
to sow against an enemy advance. 

Still more far reaching were the changes 
brought about by aerial warfare. Planes 
flying at unheard of altitudes and at speeds 
unobtainable in the 1930's created new 
puzzles for Ordnance. Fire control instru- 
ments, new types of ammunition, higher 
velocity guns for both aircraft and anti- 
aircraft became essential to survival. Em- 
ployment of airborne troops was another 
innovation calling for redesign of equip- 
ment. Men must be supplied with weapons 
light in weight, sturdy enough to with- 
stand parachuting, and powerful and reli- 
able enough to protect the parachutists in 
encounters with the enemy behind his own 
lines. Later in the war German guided mis- 
siles, particularly the celebrated V-2 
rocket, challenged American and British 
brains to find countermeasures. During 
the war no effective answer to the power- 
ful German V-2 was found. 

Indeed the complexities of munitions 
increased steadily. Trained soldiers and ex- 
perts in ballistics no longer alone sufficed 
for the jobs of designing weapons to antici- 
pate enemy developments. Scientists in a 
dozen fields were needed to evolve intri- 
cate devices which a generation before 
would have seemed fantastically remote 
from any application to arms for fighting 
men. Not all physicists were engaged on 
the Manhattan Project. Men trained in 
research laboratories, authorities in elec- 
tronics, chemistry, metallurgy, meteorol- 
ogy, mathematics, and physics were called 
upon to contribute to ordnance. When 
workable applications of involved scientific 
formulae were completed, men of the Ord- 
nance Department had still to locate facili- 



ties to produce the items and had still to 
train men properly in handling and main- 
taining them. Though the fruits of scien- 
tific research undoubtedly shortened the 
war by many months, the problems im- 
posed by scientific developments in fight- 
ing equipment added to the immediate 
task of Army Ordnance. 

Finally, supplying weapons and the 
means of keeping them in usable condi- 
tion was complicated by unforeseen cir- 
cumstances of combat. Extremes of cli- 
mate, unexpected difficulties of terrain, 
and the demands of amphibious warfare 
presented new problems. From 1941 on, 
the Ordnance Department tested equip- 
ment under the arctic conditions of Alaska, 
the tropical of the Canal Zone, in the 
California desert, the swamps of Louisiana, 
and the mountains of Colorado. Yet nei- 
ther these experiments nor imagination 
served to anticipate many situations that 
American soldiers later met. Fungus and 
corrosion from even short exposure to the 
humidity of jungle islands in the Pacific, 
wear on piston rings resulting from driving 
combat vehicles over 800 miles of Austral- 
ian desert from ports in the south to camps 
on the northern coast, brittleness of steel 
armor plate and congealing of lubricants 
in the subzero temperatures of winter in 
Alaska might theoretically have been fore- 
seen. But the most farsighted still could 
not realize how greatly these factors on the 
scale on which they were encountered 

around the globe would complicate the 
Ordnance task. 

Despite the late start, American ord- 
nance had overtaken and outdistanced 
enemy ordnance by 1945. Unflattering 
comparisons of some American weapons 
with those of the enemy, Ordnance officers 
were convinced, grew out of American 
soldiers' tendency to regard only the 
deadly effectiveness of an enemy arm with- 
out taking into consideration its weak- 
nesses. Unquestionably, particular items of 
German design and make were superior in 
at least some particulars to the correspond- 
ing American pieces — simpler to operate, 
easier to repair, lighter to carry, cheaper to 
manufacture, or better killers. The dreaded 
German "Panthers" were more heavily 
armored and had more fire power than 
any American tanks that saw action. We 
now know that ever since 1933 Nazi Ger- 
many had been applying most of her 
science and productive capacity to prepar- 
ing for war. Her head start put the United 
States at a nearly insuperable disadvan- 
tage. Nevertheless, by the last year of the 
war American fighting equipment in gen- 
eral was sturdier and better functioning 
than that of the enemy. And the U.S. 
Army had far more of it. The British, the 
Canadians, and the Russians held the lines 
while the United States got its vast arma- 
ment production under way. But it is 
abundantly clear that in any future crisis 
better preparedness would be essential. 


Origins and Growth to 1919 

Early History 

The immediate antecedents of the Ord- 
nance Department of the United States 
Army date back to the first days of the 
American Revolution. The Ordnance De- 
partment is first mentioned by name in a 
resolution of the Continental Congress in 
1778 that assigned to certain artillery offi- 
cers responsibility for issue of ordnance 
supplies to troops in the field. Through- 
out the Revolutionary War the Congress 
kept final control of munitions procure- 
ment in its own hands but gradually dele- 
gated considerable authority to particular 
officers: to a Board of War and Ordnance, 
which in turn appointed a Surveyor of 
Ordnance to inspect materiel; to a Com- 
missary General of Military Stores to keep 
record of purchases and of stocks on hand; 
and to the commanding artillery officer of 
the Army as the officer in charge of ord- 
nance field activities. 1 

Little provision could be made for design 
of weapons since a large part of the arms 
with which the Continental Army fought 
the war was imported from France and the 
West Indies, confiscated on the high seas 
by American privateers, or captured from 
British stores in America. British-made 
muskets owned by colonial militiamen 
and rifles and muskets produced by local 
gunsmiths supplemented supply. Car- 
tridges, ball, and powder were made in 
small shops scattered through the country- 
side. Yet while the urgency of getting 

usable field pieces, muskets, and ammu- 
nition was too great to permit of elabo- 
rate plans for improving ordnance, the 
commanding artillery officer was empow- 
ered to recommend alterations; if these 
proposed changes were approved by the 
Board of War and Ordnance, the board 
passed on instructions to the "artificers and 
laboratory men." - Thus the functions of 
the Ordnance Department of World War 
II were also those of the "Ordnance De- 
partment" of the Continental Army. 

For nearly thirty years following the end 
of hostilities in 1782, the Ordnance De- 
partment as a distinct unit of the United 
States Army ceased to exist. In that interim 
ordnance supplies were first entrusted to 
the Keeper of Military Stores, and then in 
1792 the Congress created the office of Pur- 
veyor of Public Supplies whose duties ex- 
tended to purchase of arms and ammuni- 
tion for the Army. To release the new 
republic from dependence upon foreign 
armsmakers, the Congress, moreover, in 
1794 empowered the President to establish 
two national armories. Thus the Spring- 
field Armory, the first federal arms factory, 
was erected and by 1 795 had completed its 
first 245 muskets. Harpers Ferry, the south- 

1 Journals of the Continental Congress. 1774-1789 (Li- 
brary of Congress edition. Washington, 1904-1937). 
Feb 1 1, 1778,'X 144; Feb 18, 1779. XIII, 201-06. 

2 Sec (1) James E. Hicks, Notes on United States Ord- 
nance: II, Ordnance Correspondence (Mount Vernon, 
New York, 19+0), 11-13; and (2) Felicia J. Deyrup, 
Arms Makers of the Connecticut Valley (Smith College 
Studies in History, XXXIIL 1948), pp. 33-36. 



SPRINGFIELD ARMORY. The main arsenal as it appeared in 1852. 

em armory, began operations in 1796. Ad- 
ditional arms for the State Militia and the 
United States Army were supplied by pri- 
vate contractors, most notable of whom 
was Eli Whitney. 3 It was Whitney's dem- 
onstration to officials of the War Depart- 
ment that first convinced doubting Thom- 
ases of the feasibility of making firearms on 
an interchangeable basis. Whitney's per- 
formance was as dramatic as its effects were 
revolutionizing. At the invitation of Capt. 
Decius Wadsworth, later the first Chief of 
Ordnance, Whitney in 1801 brought to 
Washington ten sets of the components of 
musket locks. These he dumped in piles 
upon a table and then selecting parts at 
random he assembled ten complete firing 

mechanisms. Initial disbelief of his audi- 
ence gave way before this proof that use of 
jigs and machine tools could make compo- 
nents so identical that filing and special 
fitting in assembly were needless. Official 
objections to Whitney's delay in deliveries 
on his contract for muskets were thus 
stilled. 4 Shortly thereafter, the government 
armories adopted the new system of manu- 

:1 Deyrup, op. at., p. 233. The correspondence of 
Tench Coxe, Purveyor of Public Supplies from 1803 
to 1812, gives an illuminating picture of the difficul- 
ties of organizing supply of arms from domestic 

1 See Joseph Roe, English and American l ool Builders 
(New Haven, 1916), p. 133. For full explanation of the 
consequences of acceptance of the principle of inter- 
changeability, see also Deyrup, op. cit., pp. 87-99. 



facturing and, by improvement in machine 
tools, gradually extended and perfected it. 

The approach of war with Great Britain 
in 1812 stresssed the wisdom of placing re- 
sponsibility for munitions upon the Army. 
Accordingly, the Congress on 14 May 1812 
formally created an Ordnance Department 
and appropriated $20,000 for its expenses. 
The Commissary-General of Ordnance 
was charged with inspection, storage and 
issue, and supervision of the government 
"laboratories" or workshops; where gun 
carriages, muskets and other arms were 
made. 5 Elaboration of the duties of the 
Ordnance Department followed in 1815. 
The Chief of Ordnance thereafter was re- 
sponsible for contracting for arms and am- 
munition, for supervision of the govern- 
ment armories and storage depots, and for 
recruitment and training of "artificers" to 
be attached to regiments, corps, and garri- 
sons. 6 By 1816 the federal arsenals num- 
bered five: Springfield and Harpers Ferry 
making small arms; Watervliet, "the arse- 
nal near Troy," artillery equipment and 
ammunition; Watertown, in Massachu- 
setts, small arms ammunition and gun 
carriages; and Frankford, near Philadel- 
phia, ammunition. Only two more, Rock 
Island and Picatinny, were added after 
mid-century, while Harpers Ferry was 
destroyed early in the Civil War. 

The importance of the role of the Ord- 
nance Department was recognized from its 
beginning. Thus, the Secretary of War 
urged the Congress in carrying out pro- 
posed reductions in the size of the Army to 
exclude the Engineer Corps and Ordnance 
Department. "Their duties," he wrote in 
1818, "are connected with the permanent 
preparation and defense of the country, 
and have so little reference to the existing 
military establishment, that if the army 
were reduced to a single regiment, no re- 

duction could safely be made in either of 
them." 7 Nevertheless, the reduction ef- 
fected in 1821 officially merged the Ord- 
nance Department with the Artillery. The 
arrangement endured for eleven years, but, 
inasmuch as the officers who were trans- 
ferred to the Artillery continued to perform 
the duties assigned to Ordnance by the Act 
of 1815, the change was more apparent 
than real. At the end of the 1820's the Ord- 
nance Department was spending about 
$1,000,000 a year for equipment. 8 In 1830 
the colonel on Ordnance service reported: 

. . . extensive operations are conducted at 
. . . two national armories, nine private ar- 
mories, four cannon foundries, fourteen na- 
tional arsenals, four ordnance depots, and an 
extensive region of public lead mines. 

These establishments are situated in differ- 
ent parts of the Union, and they employ more 
than one thousand men, consisting chiefly of 
artificers and mechanics. They are all con- 
ducted under the general supervision, and, 
with the exception of the private armories, 
under the immediate and special direction of 
the Ordnance Department. 3 

Officers trained as artillerymen soon 
proved less qualified to handle this busi- 
ness than ordnance specialists. The upshot 
was the re-establishment of the Ordnance 
Department as a separate unit in 1832 with 
14 officers and 250 enlisted men assigned 
to it. 10 Occasionally in the course of the 
next century efforts were repeated to re- 

5 Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Military 
Laws and Rules and Regulations for the Armies of the United 
States (Washington. 'May 1, 1813), pp. 104-09. 

n U.S. Statutes at Large, III, Ch. 38, Feb 8, 1815. 

7 American State Papers, Military Affairs, I, 780. 

* A Collection <if Annual Reports and other Important 
Papers, Relating to the Ordnance, Department, prepared 
under the direction of Brig. Gen. Stephen V. Benet 
(Washington, 1889), I. 209. (Hereafter cited as Ord- 
nance Reports.) 

" Ordnance Reports, I, 219. 

'"(1) Ibid., 138-45, 147-49. (2) U.S. Statutes at 
Large, IV, Ch. 504, 1832. 



assign the control of Ordnance, Wider ci- 
vilian superintendence, renewed merging 
of the Department with the artillery, su- 
pervision by officers of the line, consolida- 
tion of all Army supply under one War 
Department supply service — all were 
urged, all discarded." After 1832 the struc- 
ture of the Ordnance Department re- 
mained unshaken; its functions continue 
today as they were established then. 

Design of weapons had not originally 
been included specifically in the duties of 
the Ordnance Department, though Col. 
Decius Wadsworth, the first Chief of Ord- 
nance, and his successor, Col. George 
Bomford, each played an active part in 
determining xA.merican ordnance designs 
and specifications. Colonel Bomford had 
in fact himself designed a "bomb-cannon," 
the "Columbiad," the first heavy shell- 
firing gun the United States Army ever 
employed. 1 - The Regulations of 1834 first 
officially placed responsibility for design 
upon the Ordnance Department. This did 
not mean either then or later that Ord- 
nance officers or arsenal employees orig- 
inated designs. Usually new models were 
tendered for trial by independent inventors 
or commercial companies sponsoring 
them. The Ordnance Department selected, 
adapted when necessary, and then stand- 
ardized, that is, officially accepted models 
for government use. To ensure having 
modern types of equipment, in 1840 and 
again in 1848 the Department sent officers 
to Europe to study foreign design and pro- 
duction methods. Utilization of ideas 
acquired abroad, together with develop- 
ment of techniques originating in Amer- 
ica, placed United States artillery in mid- 
century more nearly on a par with that of 
other nations than had been possible in the 
Republic's infancy. 13 But American aver- 
sion to preoccupation with military affairs 

obstructed ordnance developments after, 
as before, the Civil War. 

Design of small arms was a somewhat 
different story. The westward movement 
across the continent, with its accompani- 
ment of Indian warfare and frontier 
violence, kept Americans immediately 
concerned with the adequacy of shoulder 
arms. In the forties the Ordnance Depart- 
ment replaced the old smooth bore, 
muzzle-loading flintlock with the percus- 
sion musket and the cumbersome pistol 
with the revolver invented by Samuel Colt. 
Notable improvements in rifles, pistols, 
and particularly ammunition, as well as in 
methods of production, occurred in the 
1850's as the beginning of an independent 
machine-tool industry and of precision 
gage making nourished the growth of a 
series of private companies engaged in 
small arms manufacture. In this work the 
government arsenals collaborated. 14 Yet 
the conservatism of the Army was clearly 

" Civilian superintendents, in charge of the na- 
tional armories up to 1841 , were supplanted for some- 
what over a decade by Ordnance officers, and were 
then again put in charge until the outbreak of the 
Civil War. Since 1861 officers have always been in 
charge. Attempts to reorganize the whole Ordnance 
Department occurred in 1851, 1859, 1872, and 1919. 
New proposals for a centralized Army supply service 
were tendered as late as 1948. 

(1) Col. C. Wingate Reed, "Decius Wadsworth, 
First Chief of Ordnance, U.S. Army, 1812-1821," 
Army Ordnance, XXV, 139 (1943), 114-16. (2) Cullum's 
Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the 
United States Military Academy (Boston, 1891), p. 59. 

I:i (1) Regulations for the Government of the Ordnance 
Department (Washington. 1834). (2) Ordnance Reports, f, 
381: II. 290-336; III. 229. (3) W. E. Birkhimer, His- 
torical Sketch of the Artillery, U. S. Army (Washington, 
1884), pp. 255fF. 

11 Government policy at this period permitted in- 
ventors to have the pilot models of their inventions 
built by government armorers in arsenal shops for 
Ordnance Department test. Thus in 1858, shortly be- 
fore his Harpers Ferry raid, John Brown was having 
the Springfield Armory make a pistol of his design. 
See (1) Deyrup, op. cit., p. 128, and (2) Hist of Spring- 
field Armory, I, 1777-1865, 97-99, OHF. 



manifested in the decision at the outbreak 
of the Civil War to drop the plans to 
manufacture breech-loading rifles using 
metallic rim cartridges. Government 
armorers, considering the models still ex- 
perimental, feared the delays that always 
retard mass production of any new 
weapon. Thus, while American manufac- 
turers were outstripping European in the 
speed and accuracy of their production 
techniques, the Ordnance Department 
was supplying the U.S. Army with rifles of 
a type that European manufacturers would 
have dubbed antiquated. Not until 1866 
did the Ordnance Department succeed in 
converting its muzzle-loaders to breech- 
loaders, and not until 1892 did the Army 
get bolt action rifles, modern by the stand- 
ards of that day. ls Widespread interest in 
small arms design largely subsided about 
1890, partly because the possible improve- 
ments in rifles had by then been pretty 
much achieved and partly because the set- 
tlement of the West and disappearance of 
the frontier turned public attention to 
other problems. 

In the eighties the Congress authorized 
creation of a permanent Ordnance Board 
to serve as final judge of the utility of pro- 
posed new models of weapons. Before the 
end of the century the Gatling gun and 
heavy machine guns had been adopted; 
research upon semiautomatic rifles, which 
would fire eight shots without reloading, 
and upon more powerful machine guns 
was inaugurated in 1901, and the new 
Springfield rifle, elaborated from the 
Krag-Jorgensen and the German Mauser, 
appeared in 1903. Meanwhile, artillery 
design was a subject of much debate. 
Adoption of the Crozier-Buffington recoil 
mechanism for heavy gun carriages was 
heralded as a great advance and perhaps 
served to strengthen Americans' belief in 

American technological superiority. 16 
Though the volunteer regiments of the 
U.S. Army, supplied with black powder, 
fought the Spanish-American War against 
troops equipped with the newer smokeless 
powder, the speedy American victory 
quieted criticism. Confidence in American 
ordnance mounted steadily in spite of the 
discernible evidence that American equip- 
ment was consistently some years behind 
that of the European powers. On occasion 
the sharply revealed need of new models 
brought action. Just as Civil War combat 
proved the inferiority of the government- 
manufactured muzzle-loaders to the 
breechloaders of private manufacture that 
were purchased and issued in small num- 
bers, so experience in the Philippine in- 
surrection following the war with Spain 
impelled the Ordnance Department to 
seek a larger caliber side arm. Testimony 
of soldiers that their revolver shots failed to 
stop fanatical Moros from rushing to attack 
with their bolos led to adoption of .45- 
caliber instead of ,38-caliber for the new 
automatic pistol M191 1. 17 

Unlike design, responsibility for which 
was somewhat belatedly assigned to the 
Department, procurement was a major 
part of the Ordnance mission almost from 
the Department's beginning. Purchase of 
materiel or manufacture in government 
arsenals became one of its stated functions 
in 1815. Attempt to curtail government 
manufacture of arms in the interest of 

15 (1) Deyrup, op. cit., pp. 23-32. (2) Hist of Spring- 
field Armory, I, 1777-1865, pp. 101-02, OHF. 

16 (1) James E. Hicks, Notes on United States Ord- 
nance: I, Small Arms, 1776 to 1940 (Mount Vernon, New 
York, 1 940), passim. (2) Springfield Armory Tests and 
Developments of Semi-Automatic Shoulder Arms, 
1900 to 1914, OHF. (3) Ordnance Reports, III, 281. (4) 
Seventh Report of the Board of Ordnance and Fortifi- 
cation, 1897, p. 1 1. 

17 Record of Army Ord R&D, Vol. II, Small Arms 
and Small Arms Ammunition, Book 1, p. 79, OHF. 



turning the business over to private indus- 
try was defeated in the fifties by the vigor- 
ous opposition of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment and the Secretary of War, Jefferson 
Davis, and was never seriously urged 
again. Davis argued that government 
manufacture as well as government design 
guaranteed constant improvement in 
models and enabled the Ordnance Depart- 
ment to check not only on the quality of 
contractors' output but also on their 
prices. lh Thus the Congress, backed by 
public opinion, quashed the development 
in this country of a private munitions in- 
dustry comparable to those in Europe. The 
enduring consequences for the Ordnance 
Department have been of signal im- 

Government inspection of arms before 
acceptance imposed the necessity of sup- 
plying gages to both government inspec- 
tors and, after 1840, to government 
contractors. Before that date a contractor 
could check his work only by comparing 
it with a model weapon lent as a pattern 
by the government. Not until after the 
Civil War did the Ordnance Department 
evolve any reasonably satisfactory system 
of furnishing gages and not until World 
War I was it applied on any scale. From 
the 1880's to 1916 the Master Armorer at 
each government arsenal was responsible 
for all gages needed in manufacture of the 
arms for which his arsenal had "technical 
responsibility." Under his eye, skilled 
workmen, rather than gage-checkers 
trained in mathematics, verified the accu- 
racy of each gage. The artisan's experience 
largely offset the paucity of the precision 
measurement devices then available. 19 A 
separate gage unit within the Ordnance 
Inspection Division was a creation of World 
War I. 

Contracting with commercial producers 

fell off somewhat toward the end of the 
nineteenth century. During the Civil War 
the impossibility of equipping the Union 
armies from stores on hand or by running 
the government arsenals at capacity had 
forced reliance upon private firms, but 
dependence upon inexperienced manufac- 
turers whose output had to be reworked or 
assembled in government shops was expen- 
sive. All powder had to be purchased until 
1907 when a plant was built at Picatinny 
Arsenal. After the standardization of the 
famous Springfield rifle M1903, govern- 
ment manufacture of small arms as well as 
most artillery became the general rule, and 
up to 1915 the art of ordnance- making in 
America was chiefly contained within the 
government establishments. 20 

While manufacture of arms on an inter- 
changeable basis was achieved after a fash- 
ion long before the Civil War. in the nine- 
teenth century it was still too little devel- 
oped to enable the Ordnance Department 
to supply spare parts to maintenance com- 
panies in the field. Maintenance of his 
equipment was the user's job; repair work 
went back to the government arsenals. 

1(1 Ordnance Reports, II, 523-26. From time to time 
right down to the present, commercial producers or 
their congressmen have protested government manu- 
facture of munitions, but since 1854 the matter has 
always been dismissed without prolonged debate. Sec, 
for example, Memorial of the Association of Manufac- 
turers of Arms, Ammunition, and Equipments pre- 
sented to the Congressional Joint Committee on the 
Reorganization of the Army in 1878, 45th Cong, 3d 
Sess, S Exec Doc 16, pp. 65-72. 

19 Interv with Theodore Fletcher, Sup.t Milling Div, 
Springfield Armory, and John Callahan, Chief of 
Gage Sec, Springfield Armory, Feb 45. Mr. Fletcher 
began his services at the armory in 1896, Mr. Calla- 
han in 1903. 

-"(1) Hist of Springfield Armory, I, 1777-1865, 
OHF. (2) War Department Annual Reports, Report 
of the Chief of Ordnance, 1902, pp. 43, 48, 56, 63-66; 
1907, pp. 46-71; 1912, p. 916; 1918-19, pp. 926-27. 
(Hereafter, regardless of variations of title, these re- 
ports are cited as Ann Rpt CofOrd.) 



Hence, one of the knottiest recent problems 
of Ordnance Field Service was unknown 
in earlier years. During the Mexican War 
Ordnance rocket and mountain howitzer 
companies commanded by Ordnance offi- 
cers served as combat troops, but thereafter 
Ordnance units in the field were assigned 
only to supply. 21 Ordnance officers com- 
manding depots or arsenals were responsi- 
ble for storing and issuing arms and 
ammunition and, after troop demobiliza- 
tion, for collecting repairable weapons for 
arsenal overhaul and reconditioning. Peri- 
odic inspection of materiel stored in depots 
or at the arsenals obtained all through the 
years. But Field Service, as such, was not 
established until after World War I. 

The Ordnance Department enjoyed 
wide public confidence during its first hun- 
dred years. Occasional criticisms of Ameri- 
can military equipment were usually for- 
gotten as soon as the Ordnance Depart- 
ment had remedied a particular weakness. 
As American industrial genius began to 
emerge just before mid-century, America's 
faith in its own capacities, military and 
other, began to grow. Belief that American 
ordnance was equal to any demands that 
might be made upon it encouraged an 
unconcern over European munitions devel- 
opments. What matter that foreign powers 
adopted machine guns a decade before the 
United States? If this country lagged be- 
hind a little in one field or another, when 
need arose American ingenuity could be 
counted on to overcome the handicap 
quickly. Entrenched on the North Ameri- 
can continent with a friendly neighbor to 
the north and relatively feeble, even if 
troublesome, neighbors to the south, the 
United States felt no call to devote thought 
and money to making instruments of war. 
National energies were directed toward 
exploiting the natural resources of the con- 

tinent and building up industrial might for 
peaceful ends. The Army had always 
fought through to victory in the past, so 
Americans reasoned, and, were ill chance 
to plunge the country into another war, 
again American arms would triumph. No 
one was troubled about deficiencies in 
American ordnance. 

World War I 

When war broke out on the continent of 
Europe in 1914, the American public re- 
fused to consider the possibility of United 
States involvement. The Ordnance De- 
partment in the preceding decades had 
developed orderly routines for supply of 
the small standing Army and as late as the 
fall of 1916 gave few signs of alarm at hav- 
ing the Congress make only moderate 
increases in appropriations. 22 In fact, not 
the Congress, but the Chief of Ordnance 
himself in the prewar years recommended 
reduction of proposed appropriations for 
some items of equipment. 23 The Chief of 
Ordnance, Brig. Gen. William B. Crozier, 

-' Apparently the violent protest of artillery officers 
after the Mexican War put an end to using "artisans" 
as soldiers. The rivalry between the artillery and the 
Ordnance Department in the lB40's and 1850's 
achieved an acrimony beside which the present-day 
differences among the branches of the armed services 
seem amicable. See Ordnance Reports, II, 462-67. 

Probably during the Civil War. as again eighty 
years later. Ordnance units occasionally' fought in the 
line when a battle became desperate, but such action 
was not according to the rules. 

22 (1) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1916. (2) Army Appropria- 
tions Bill, 1918. Hearings Before the Committee on Mili- 
tary Affairs. House of Representatives , pp. 860-917. 
(Hereafter Congressional Hearings on Army appro- 
priation bills will be cited as W'DAB, S or HR.) 

-■' The total appropriations for Ordnance increased, 
but the readiness of the Chief of Ordnance to curtail 
some expenditures below those of former years and 
the failure of the Department to spend all monies 
granted combined to create the impression that Con- 



included in his annual reports for 1915 and 
1916 recommendations based upon obser- 
vation of the form the war in Europe was 
taking, particularly urging the need of 
more powerful artillery and armored motor 
cars. He protested the continued insistence 
of Congress that government arsenals 
manufacture practically all ordnance 
material unless private concerns could 
compete on price, a condition rarely realiz- 
able; he pointed out that pursuit of this 
policy would delay expansion of manufac- 
turing capacity badly needed in any future 
emergency. 24 But he found reassurance in 
the number of American manufacturers 
that had undertaken large orders for muni- 
tions for European governments, although 
he recognized that plants set up to make 
foreign models could not immediately pro- 
duce American arms and ammunition. 
"The time required for an unprepared 
adaptation of this kind is sometimes sur- 
prising, and in case of emergency would be 
serious." 25 Still, planning was unhurried. 
New designs for field and seacoast gun car- 
riages were begun in 1916 and that sum- 
mer, in order to equip and train militia in 
the use of machine guns, the War Depart- 
ment bought a few Lewis guns to supple- 
ment the meagre supply in the hands of 
troops on the Mexican border. Yet little 
more than six months before the United 
States was to declare war upon a major 
military power, the Department wasjust 
reaching a decision about how to spend 
the newly appropriated $12,000,000 ear- 
marked for procurement of machine guns." s 
Before 1918 determination of design and 
types of weapons for the United States 

gress had been liberal, that the Ordnance Department 
had usually got what it asked for. and that Ordnance 
weaknesses later revealed were not traceable to Con- 
gressional parsimony. See, for example, WDAB 1916, 
HR, pp. 666-67, 676-77, 688-90. 

Army lay chiefly with Ordnance officers. 
Although an Engineer officer, a Signal 
Corps officer, and usually both a Coast 
Artillery and a Field Artillery officer served 
on the Board of Ordnance and Fortifica- 
tion and so outnumbered the one Ord- 
nance member, the Ordnance Department 
itself dominated this body whose recom- 
mendation was virtually fiat. Indeed, the 
authority exercised by the Chief of Ord- 
nance over decisions as to what weapons 
the U.S. Army should have seems to have 
grown during General Crozier's regime. In 
the summer of 1901 the board had pro- 
tested to the Secretary of War the Ord- 
nance Department's arrogation unto itself 
of the authority and functions vested by 
law in the board. The Secretary of War 
apparently ignored the complaint. In De- 
cember General Crozier, newly appointed 
Chief of Ordnance, won a skirmish over 
the question of Ordnance Department 
power to direct field gun tests. The rest of 
the board had to back down w r hen Crozier 
presented a message from the Secretary of 
War declaring that it was his intention "to 
have the test of field guns conducted by 
the Ordnance Department, through the 
instrumentality of Ordnance officers by 
the methods of the Ordnance Department, 
and at the Ordnance Department's 
place." 27 Thereafter General Crozier, 
triply fortified by his position as Chief of 

21 Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1915, pp. 23-26,29-30; 1916, 
pp. 20-21, 26-28. The National Defense Act of 1916 
had recognized the wisdom of placing educational or- 
ders by permitting public funds to be spent for pro- 
curing special tooling for private manufacturers will- 
ing to accept orders. But this provision and the lifting 
of the requirement of competitive bidding were so 
hedged about with other restrictions that the so-called 
mobilization of industry was theoretical only. 
Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1915, p. 25. 
Ibid., 1916, p. 25. 

27 Proceedings of the Board of Ordnance and Forti- 
fication, 6 Dec 01, p. 103, OHF. 



Ordnance, by his recognized stature as an 
engineer, and by his contributions in the 
field of artillery design, went through the 
motions of deferring to the board and of 
heeding reports of special Artillery com- 
mittees or of Infantry Board members. But 
Ordnance Department influence was para- 
mount. Crozier believed that the techni- 
cian knew best what combat troops 
required. 28 While occasionally the Secre- 
tary of War appointed special boards to 
pass upon the respective merits of models 
offered by rival inventors, ordinarily the 
services had little say about what equip- 
ment they would fight with. The Infantry 
could request a more effective service re- 
volver, the Artillery longer range guns, the 
Cavalry improved saddles and holsters. 29 
But not until the 1920's were the using 
arms to play a primary part in determin- 
ing military characteristics desired or in 
judging which model best met require- 

The fact of the military unpreparedness 
of the United States in the spring of 1917 
is familiar to all the generation that lived 
through that era and to all students of its 
history. The steps belatedly taken to over- 
come the shortages of trained men and 
equipment are less well known. Decision to 
adopt French artillery design in order to 
speed procurement for the U.S. Army was 
made before the Ordnance Department 
discovered the inescapable problems of 
adapting French drawings to American 
manufacturing processes. Locating facil- 
ities to produce more familiar items such 
as propellants, rifles, and pistols, was ac- 
complished more successfully. The first 
and continuing difficulty was finding 
enough men competent to cope with the 

The Chief of Ordnance had long in- 
sisted that at least two years were needed 

to prepare an officer for Ordnance duty. 
Ordnance before 1917, as after, was a 
technician's job. In April 1917, the De- 
partment numbered 97 officers; 11,000 
Ordnance officers were needed for the pro- 
jected 5,000,000-man army; in actuality 
5,800 were commissioned from civilian life 
before the Armistice. 3 " While two Ord- 
nance schools for training officers had been 
organized early in the century, both were 
closed in the summer of 1917, presumably 
because they could not accommodate 
enough students to warrant assignments of 
teachers. Officer training then became 
sheer improvisation. 31 Candidates recruit- 
ed by combing the training camps for men 
with some industrial engineering experi- 
ence were hurried through special courses, 
commissioned, and assigned to work where 
it was hoped their civilian experience 
would count. So gas engine designers and 
manufacturers after a few weeks' instruc- 

(I) Ibid., 1902-10, 19.11- 17, />'m, (2) Memo, 
Col James H. Burns, sub: Procurement of Munitions, 
14 Jan 19. OO 023/424, NA. Testimony to the undis- 
puted character of General Grozier's authority comes 
also from two men attached to the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, for over forty years, Arthur Adelman. 
from 1905 to 1916 gun designer, and L. M. Church, 
personal messenger for General Crozier from 1907 to 
1909. Intervs with Arthur Adelman and L. M. 
Church, 27 Jan 49. 

29 See, for example: (1) WD SO 227, 1916; (2) 
VVDAB 1918, HR. pp. 915-16; and ( 3) Ann Rp t 
CofOrd, 1916, pp. 17-18. See also below |ch. vn.i 

:i " Sevellon Brown. The Story of Ordnance in the World 
War (Washington, 1920), pp. 35, 153-84. 

All together the Ordnance Department on Armis- 
tice Day had 5.954 officers, 62,043 enlisted men, and 
80,181 civilians. See Rpt D-l (153), U.S. General 
Staff, Stat Br. cited in Harvey A. DeWeerd, Produc- 
tion Lag in the American Ordnance Program, 1917- 
1918, pp. 20 2 1 . This is an unpublished doctoral dis- 
sertation, based upon thorough examination ofmost of 
the available material, both manuscript and published. 
Copy in OHF. 

11 Capt. William M. Spinrad, "Early History of the 
Ordnance School," The Ordnance Sergeant, 111, 1 
(1942). 1. 



tion became the Ordnance Department's 
machine gun "experts," 32 while men 
familiar with materials or products some- 
what analogous to those of Ordnance were 
converted into "specialists" on other weap- 
ons and equipment. Nor were all the men 
commissioned as Ordnance officers pos- 
sessed of engineering knowledge. Many 
came from fields as remote from Ordnance 
as bookselling, law, and the teaching of the 
humanities. The resulting difficulties af- 
fected all aspects of the Ordnance mission 
from design to inspection. In production 
and procurement, for example, the differ- 
ence between the tools and production 
methods of the arsenals and those of com- 
mercial industry had to be harmonized, 
but the first step had to be the education or 
re-education alike of Regular Army Ord- 
nance officers and officers brought in from 
civilian jobs. That the hasty and inevitably 
superficial training turned out a corps of 
officers even moderately effective is the 

Whereas provision for officer training 
was insufficient, no plans for enlisted men's 
training existed at all. In years past, troops 
in the line had themselves been expected 
to keep their equipment in serviceable 
condition; since equipment needing more 
extensive repairs had been sent to the 
government arsenals where workers as 
civilians were not subject to any Army 
training, the Ordnance Department had 
made no effort to develop courses of in- 
struction for men in the ranks. Yet in a 
modern army the high degree of mecha- 
nization made special schooling for enlisted 
men essential, especially in techniques of 
maintenance. In September 1917 the 
Secretary of War authorized establishment 
of the first schools for "enlisted specialists," 
where in manufacturing centers in Amer- 
ica and later in France nearly 1 1,000 men 

were trained. S4 Many times that number 
were needed. 

But field maintenance depended upon 
more than trained officers and men back 
of the front lines; it depended upon an or- 
derly flow of spare parts. Want of parts for 
automotive vehicles, in the judgment of 
one observer, came close to disrupting 
completely the AEF supply and transport 
system: ". . . it is generally conceded by 
those who were in authority and by those 
who were in a position to understand the 
situation that the Armistice came just in 
time to prevent this major catastrophe." 35 
Exaggerated though this statement may 
be, the fact remains that a serious future 
problem was here foreshadowed. Lack of 
experience prevented sound guesses of 
what parts would be needed in what quan- 
tity, while improper numbering, a baffling 
multiplicity of parts, and, finally, faulty 
organization of handling contributed to 
the chaos. From the disastrous confusion 
over maintenance and supply, the Army 
learned that planned procedures must be 
evolved. Creation of the Division of Pur- 
chase, Storage, and Traffic in August 1918 
eased matters for the last months of the 
war, and in 1919 the Ordnance Depart- 
ment was to organize its Field Service 

Even more alarming than the threat- 
ened breakdown in overseas maintenance 
was the initial lag in production of major 

"Before the war, a single Ordnance officer . . . 
had served as the expert 'staff ' on automatic weapons. 
. . . Certainly not more than four other officers of the 
Ordnance Department in the field could have quali- 
fied as machine-gun Experts." Brown. The Story of 
Ordnance in the World War, p. 34. 
Ibid., pp. 32-3fi. 
:!1 (1) Ibid., pp. 153-84. (2) Spinrad, op. cit., pp. 

:,r> W. G. Burgan, The Spare Parts Problem and a 
Pian. inc.] to Itr, Department of the Army (AGAM- 
PM 45 1.9 (30 Mar 48) CSGSP/D7), 6 Apr 48, OHF. 



items — artillery, artillery ammunition, 
and, to a lesser extent, trench warfare ma- 
teriel. The number of field guns manufac- 
tured in this country after 1 April 1917 
and shipped to France before 1 1 Novem- 
ber 1918 was only 815, and the AEF was 
almost entirely dependent upon the French 
and the British through 1917 and 1918 for 
everything except rifles and small arms 
ammunition. 36 The large orders for Amer- 
ican artillery in 1917 indicate not only 
fears lest foreign supply not suffice but also 
national pride in having the U.S. Army 
equipped with American guns. The rea- 
sons for the production lag deserve 

First, time was necessary for tooling up 
for any big production job. The Chief of 
Ordnance had repeatedly pointed out that 
eighteen months must be allowed from the 
placing of orders to the beginning of large- 
scale production, a warning that had fallen 
on deaf ears. The Council of National De- 
fense, created in August 1916, and its sub- 
sidiary Advisory Commission formed in 
December, had evolved some sound gen- 
eral ideas of procurement procedures but, 
before the declaration of war, had barely 
begun to act upon them. Next was the 
slowness with which the War Department 
arrived at decisions about what weapons 
it wanted. 37 It was two full months after 
the declaration of war before higher au- 
thority decided to adopt French artillery 
calibers and put in motion the plan to ob- 
tain drawings from the French Govern- 
ment for 75-mm. guns and 105-mm. and 
155-mm. howitzers and ammunition. Six 
months after that the French drawings ar- 
rived, only to prove not immediately 
adaptable to American production proc- 
esses. Indeed, the drawings for French 
shells were found to contain so many errors 
that the standard joke among the engineers 

of the Ordnance Department described 
these drawings as the ones the French had 
intended the German Government to ob- 
tain through secret sources. For manufac- 
ture of machine guns large orders were not 
placed until 20 June 1917; the special 
board had first to submit its recommenda- 
tions and then wait for War Department 
red tape to unwind. Congressional adher- 
ence to peacetime restrictions on govern- 
ment spending further hampered negotia- 
tion of contracts; insistence on competitive 
bidding and allocation of funds for speci- 
fied purposes were the chief sources of 
complications. 38 

The most frequently cited reason for the 
delays in producing complete ordnance 
items was the Department's handicap in 
the race for facilities. War Department ac- 
quiescence in allowing the Navy first 
chance to contract with established indus- 
trial firms and the decision to permit com- 
panies with foreign orders to complete 
them left the Ordnance Department with 

16 Crowcll. America's Munitions 1917-1918, p. 90. 

Unless otherwise noted, the data in the paragraphs 
that follow are derived from the careful study of De- 
Weerd, Production Lag in the American Ordnance 
Program, 1917-1918. Copy in OHF. 

37 Sharp criticism was hurled at the War Depart- 
ment in general and the Ordnance Department in 
particular for not having profited from reports of ob- 
servers sent overseas. The accusations were that Ord- 
nance Department failure to make use of descriptions 
of foreign materiel had needlessly delayed design and 
procurement of weapons proved in modern combat. 
Ltrs, Col Spencer Colby to Army War College, 26 Feb 
15, OO 321.12/193 and 29 Dec 15, OO 231.12/121, 
cited in Edmund Littell, Procurement Problems of 
World War I, p. 9, OHF. 

18 See discussion by F. A. Scott, in 1917 chairman 
of the General Munitions Board and later of the War 
Industries Board, "Plans for an Unplanned Conflict," 
Army Ordnance, XVI, 91 (1935), 8. 

F.xplicit permission to procure gages without com- 
petitive bidding was an exception introduced by the 
National Defense Act of 1916. But as late as January 
1917 the Ordnance Department had placed few or- 
ders for gages. WDAB 1918, HR, pp. 865-66. 



little choice but to build new facilities 
from the ground up. 39 Competition within 
the Army accentuated the problem, as the 
Coast Artillery, Signal Corps, Corps of En- 
gineers, and Medical Department also had 
huge procurement programs to meet, and, 
whenever possible, pre-empted factories, 
materials, and labor that the Ordnance 
Department needed desperately. 10 Every 
service fended for itself as best it could. Be- 
fore March 1918 when the President be- 
stowed large powers on the War Industries 
Board, no clear scheme of priorities ob- 
tained and vital Ordnance orders got side- 
tracked. While it is a moot question 
whether or not the Department's inability 
to commandeer plants for ordnance manu- 
facture was the primary cause of the pro- 
duction lag, it was unquestionably one 
major contributing factor. 

In addition to difficulties imposed from 
above, Ordnance suffered from some cir- 
cumstances beyond the control of any gov- 
ernment agency in 1917. Labor shortages 
in many areas impeded contractors. Facili- 
ties found, materials delivered, labor re- 
cruited, producers were still seriously 
handicapped by a dearth of men with in- 
dustrial managerial experience. Less obvi- 
ous than many elements in the procure- 
ment situation, this lack of experienced 
men at key points created much confusion 
otherwise avoidable. 

On the other hand, the procurement 
program had some weaknesses that greater 
foresight within the Ordnance Depart- 
ment might have minimized, if not wholly 
eliminated. Most important was the lack of 
information on where bottlenecks were 
most likely to crop up and of planned pro- 
cedures to anticipate them. Obviously, the 
number of weapons completed must hinge 
on the number of components shortest in 
supply, usually those most difficult to 

make. Thousands of rifle barrels could be 
of no use without thousands of receivers. 
Yet the Ordnance Department operated 
for over a year without any system for 
checking on balanced production of mate- 
riel. In late May 1918 a Progress Section 
in the Estimates and Requirements Divi- 
sion was set up. Thereafter, repetition of 
earlier mistakes whereby there were more 
guns than gun carriages, more gun carri- 
ages than recuperators, more machined 
shell bodies than booster assemblies was 
halted. But it was too late to have effect 
upon deliveries of completed weapons. 41 
Hence, some of the errors derived from 
policy made at higher levels and some 
were the fault of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment itself. False confidence in the ade- 
quacy of American production capacity at 
first encouraged the Department in a com- 
placency later paralleled only by that of 
the American public in prophesying quick 
victory over Japan immediately after Pearl 
Harbor. The exaggerated assurance of 
April 1917 that everything was ready was 
in turn succeeded by belief that production 
was hopelessly behind requirements even 
in November 1918. General John J. 
Pershing had doubled General Crozier's 

:lM The Council of National Defense in April 1917 
decreed "that as between the Army and the Navy 
priority should be given to such needs of the Navy as 
are intended to be completed within the period of one 
year." Minutes of the Council of National Defense, I. 
163, cited in DeWeerd, op. cit., p. 69. 

A " For fuller discussion of this situation, see Grosvc- 
nor B. Clarkson, Industrial America in the World War 
(New York, 1923), pp. 111-12, and B. Crowell and 
R. F. Wilson, How America Went to War, The. Armies of 
Industry (New Haven, 1921), I, 2-9. 

" On 75-mm. shells, in fact, the imbalance of com- 
pleted components lasted till after the Armistice. On 1 
December 1918 the totals of completed components 
were 30,600,000 primers. 26.800,000 cartridge cases, 
12,000,000 fuzes, 13,900,000 shell bodies, 10,900,000 
boosters. See Rpt 5. The Production of 75-mm H. E. 
Shell, p. 24, U.S. General Staff, Stat Br, cited in De- 
Weerd, up. cit., p. 197, 




Chief of Ordnance, 1901-18. 

original estimates of quantities needed, 
and scheduling that increase had further 
delayed the first deliveries. Out of the con- 
fusion came one clear fact: regardless of 
any mistakes the General Staff or Secre- 
tary of War might make, the Ordnance 
Department itself must have a more effi- 
cient scheme of action. It must reappraise 
its organization, plan industrial mobiliza- 
tion of the future, and train more men and 
officers more fully. 

Experiments in departmental reorgani- 
zation had begun early in 1918, immedi- 
ately after General Crozier's transfer to the 
War Council. But the new arrangement, 
based on a functional division of responsi- 
bility, heightened rather than lessened 
confusion because operating under sepa- 
rate divisions for procurement, manufac- 
turing, inspection, and supply prevented 

anyone from knowing the exact status of 
any order or any equipment at any exact 
moment. A Control Bureau at the top, in- 
tended to co-ordinate activities, was un- 
able to assemble necessary information 
quickly enough to apply it. Consequently 
upon Brig. Gen. Clarence C. Williams' 
appointment as Acting Chief of Ordnance 
in May 1918, he substituted an Estimates 
and Requirements Division for the Control 
Bureau and introduced weekly conferences 
between division heads, which cut through 
much of the administrative tangle. More 
sweeping changes had to wait till after the 
war. 42 

Meanwhile, one significant change took 
place: the decentralization of procure- 
ment. The delays and complexities of hav- 
ing every Ordnance contract go through 
the office of the Chief of Ordnance led to 
the decision to delegate authority to dis- 
trict offices in eleven sections of the coun- 
try. This innovation, later heralded as 
revolutionizing, lay less in the creation of 
geographically scattered offices with con- 
siderable independence of action than in 
the fact that civilians were put in charge. 
For the former, the federal system of local 
and national government offered prece- 
dent, while the regional Federal Reserve 
banks set a more explicit pattern. But the 
effectiveness of the new arrangement de- 
rived from turning over to local industrial 
leaders responsibility for mobilizing local 
civilian industry for war production. "The 
purpose of this unusual arrangement," the 
Chief of Ordnance wrote after the war, 
"was to secure a measure of elasticity and 
a degree of discretion for the district chiefs 
which they could not obtain if they were 

*" Ordnance Department Office Orders 8, 3 1 May 
17; 104, 4- Jan 18; 222, 25 May 18; 297 : 10 Aug 18. All 
in OHF. (Hereafter Office Orders will he niter! as 
ODO.) For further discussion, see below, Ch. IV, 


under military discipline; to inspire among 
manufacturers the sense of cooperation 
and reciprocal understanding the presence 
of a civilian chief was calculated to 
arouse. . . , These objects were at- 
tained." 43 

Responsibility placed upon district 
chiefs was coupled with authority. Because 
Col. Guy E. Tripp, who organized the dis- 
tricts, succeeded in finding unusually able 
men to head the districts, the delays in 
placing contracts and getting ordnance 
production started began to diminish im- 
mediately. Colonel Tripp, in civilian life 
chairman of the board of directors of the 
Westinghouse Electrical and Manufactur- 
ing Company, encouraged short cuts. Busi- 
ness procedures, direct and informal, su- 
perseded military. Although actual nego- 
tiation and execution of formal contracts 
remained in Washington, the preliminaries 
to the legal work, the later supervision of 
fulfilling the contracts, and finally the all- 
important inspections for acceptance of 
materiel fell to the district staffs. The pro- 
nounced rise in the production curve after 
the districts began to function cannot, of 
course, be attributed solely to their work. 44 
Yet Ordnance officers were so impressed 
with the value of the system that as the war 
went on the scope of district operations was 
widened and two more districts were 
added. Decentralization in Ordnance pro- 
curement was thus proceeding at the very 
time that centralization of controls at 
higher levels was being contrived by vest- 
ing power more largely in the War Indus- 
tries Board. Though the Ordnance district 
offices disappeared after winding up their 
affairs in 1919, they were re-established in 
1922 because they were believed to be the 
most effective agencies for industrial mo- 

Published versions of what happened in 

LIAMS, Chief of Ordnance, 1918-30. 

1917-18 have taken one or the other of two 
lines: violent criticism of the Ordnance 
Department for its slowness in meeting the 
Army's needs, or extravagant eulogies of 
the efficiency that converted a cabbage 
patch into a munitions factory in eight 
months. Both are partly justified. Had 
France and Great Britain not supplied the 

J;1 Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1919, p. 28. 

■" Figures giving exactly comparable data before 
and after the creation of the districts are not obtain- 
able. Statistics showing the rise in volume of con- 
tracts placed, though not of orders completed, offer 
only partial evidence. Thus, of contracts totaling 
$1,073,305,731 entered into by the Ordnance Depart- 
ment before mid-December 1917, only $28,715,779 
worth had been delivered — less than 3 percent. By 1 
November 1918, the value of contracts let was $3,185,- 
559,623. No computation of the percentage filled is 
possible, for manufacturers of many items apparently 
were paid for deliveries made in 1919. See Clark B. 
Firestone, The Ordnance Districts, 1918-19 (Washington, 



U.S. Army with arms and ammunition al- 
most to the end of the fighting, the achieve- 
ment of United States readiness for full- 
scale production nineteen months after 
declaration of war would not have mat- 
tered. Defeat or victory would have been 
already determined. Yet, given time, the 
Ordnance Department proved it could or- 
ganize a colossal production program. 
During the next twenty years, the Army- 
was to apply many of the lessons of World 
War I. The assumption that the United 
States always could meet any emergency 
was never again to induce such far-flung, 
fateful complacency within the Ordnance 

In one realm, unhappily, the Ordnance 
Department failed to profit fully from ex- 
perience. It failed to follow the work of 
foreign munitions makers closely enough 
to keep American ordnance abreast of sig- 
nificant new developments. Little use was 
made of information brought back by of- 
ficers sent abroad. After the appearance of 
the important report submitted in 1919 by 
a carefully chosen group of Army officers, 
usually called the Westervclt Board, no 
similar bodies were created empowered to 
explore the whole field of ordnance design, 
foreign as well as American. Money to 
build American weapons incorporating 
European improvements would, to be sure, 
not have been forthcoming from the Con- 
gresses of the 1920's and 1930's — the nation 
was intent on forgetting about war — but 
the Army would at least have compre- 
hended more clearly what it had to com- 
pete against. Military observers in London 
and Berlin in the 1930's were to tender 
numerous reports on changes in British 
and German equipment, but if officers in 
Washington gave weight to the informa- 
tion, they took no steps to establish an effi- 
cient routine that would permit Ordnance 

designers to adopt useful European inno- 
vations. 41 Yet American ignorance of any 
details of German and French munitions 
developments preceding 1917 had admit- 
tedly had grave consequences. Realization 
that in twentieth century Europe a full- 
blown industry was giving constant atten- 
tion to devising new weapons and refining 
old did not sink in sufficiently upon the 
War Department. Inattention to what 
competitors had available was eventually 
to prove extremely costly. Whether it 
stemmed from overconfidence in Ameri- 
can technological genius or from apathy 
deriving from conviction that the Congress 
would not grant money for military re- 
search, this disregard of foreign develop- 
ments after the early twenties must consti- 
tute a serious charge against the Ordnance 

In other fields Ordnance officers were to 
put their hard-won experience to effective 
use. Out of World War I came several im- 
portant changes, changes in methods and 
planning and, still more basic, changes in 
thinking. The Ordnance Department had 
learned that it could not operate efficiently 
without a considerable body of trained 
men. Enlisted men as well as officers must 
be taught Ordnance techniques of supply 
and maintenance and be familiarized with 
some of the problems of design and pro- 
duction. The upshot was the launching, in 
the summer of 1919, of a school for en- 
listed men which in one form or another 
has carried on without break to the pres- 
ent. The Ordnance Department, like all 
other units of the Army and Navy, had 

45 See |Ch, VU,| riclow. Some officers had long ap- 
preciated the importance of having U.S. Army Ord- 
nance experts in Europe. In 1901 the Secretary of War 
authorized the Department to send two officers to 
study special problems. Ann Rpt CofOrd. 1901, p. 10. 



also discovered that careful plans for war- 
time use of private industry must be so 
complete that loss of time and waste effort 
in mass production would be reduced to a 
minimum. Much of the twenty years that 
followed the 1918 Armistice was to be ded- 
icated, consequently, to producing blue- 
prints for industrial mobilization. Estab- 
lishment of the Army Industrial College in 
1924 grew out of recognition that military 
procurement planning must have special- 
ists trained for just that. A third lesson of 
World War I was the need for a staff with- 
in the Ordnance Department assigned to 
the sole task of organizing storage and is- 
sue of materiel and qualified to supervise 
maintenance of equipment. The creation 
of Field Service was the answer. 

The final change in the workings of the 
Ordnance Department was the least im- 
mediately apparent but, in long-term ef- 
fects, the most fundamental. The Chief of 
Ordnance ceased to be the Czar whose dic- 
tates on military characteristics and design 
of weapons the using arms accepted with- 
out demur. No General Crozier was ever 
again to issue to the Infantry or the Field 
Artillery or the Cavalry equipment that 
the Ordnance Department had decided 
was suitable. Partly because General 
Crozier's prestige had been badly shaken 
by the Senate Investigating Committee in 
December 191 7, 4 '' and partly because Gen- 

eral Williams, Chief of Ordnance from 
May 1918 to 1930, had himself seen over- 
seas service, the combat arms thereafter 
were to have a constantly growing share 
in deciding what type and what model of 
weapons they would employ. General Wil- 
liams is reported to have declared upon his 
return from Europe in the spring of 1918: 
"If the fighting men want elephants, we 
get them elephants." 41 Ordnance officers 
in Washington would no longer exercise 
their technicians' prerogative to insist that 
mice or mules would suffice. How far Gen- 
eral Williams' influence counted in inau- 
gurating the change whereby the Infantry 
Board and other service boards stipulated 
their requirements and passed judgment 
upon what the Ordnance Department pro- 
duced to meet them may be a question. 
Certainly his attitude, born of personal ob- 
servation of combat, made infinitely easier 
the transition to the new order. The Ord- 
nance Department became to an ever 
greater degree the skilled servant, not the 
master, of the using arms. 

46 See Hearings Before the Committee on Military Af- 
fairs, Pt. I, S. 65th Cong. 2d Sess. 

47 Quoted by Arthur Adelman, Chief of Artillery 
Ammunition Branch, Industrial Division, OCO, in 
an interview with the author, 27 Jan 49. For a similar 
pronouncement made by General Williams in the 
summer of 191? in France, see History of the Services 
of Supply, The Ordnance Department, A.E.F.. OO 
023/423, NA. 


The Ordnance Department: 


The nearly twenty years between the 
Armistice of November 1918 and the Ger- 
man Anschluss with Austria in March 1938 
saw the American public gradually shift 
from hope in the possibility of enduring 
peace to uneasy perception that aggressive 
force was again taking command of the in- 
ternational scene. For the Army, and for 
the Ordnance Department in particular, 
changes in public opinion, expressed 
through Congressional appropriations, set 
the pattern of activity; the amount of 
money available for maintenance, devel- 
opment, and manufacture of fighting 
equipment always imposed the limits with- 
in which the Ordnance Department could 
work. Had judgment invariably been 
faultless in interpreting the importance of 
foreign arms developments, had the Army 
evolved the most comprehensive, sound 
doctrine of what weapons were needed for 
mechanized warfare and how an army in 
the field should use them, and had the 
Ordnance Department devised ah ideal 
scheme of procurement and maintenance 
of munitions, all this must still have been 
useless without money enough to turn 
ideas into materiel. Hence, funds voted by 
the Congress, generally adhering to the 
dictates of American public opinion, deter- 
mined the scope of Ordnance work. 

At the end of World War I the United 

States, shocked by recent discovery of its 
military weakness, appeared to be ready to 
support an army large enough and suffi- 
ciently well armed to prevent a repetition 
of the unpreparedness of 1917. The Ord- 
nance Department was instructed to 
assemble, store, and maintain the equip- 
ment that had belatedly been manufac- 
tured in the United States or had been 
captured from the enemy. These stores 
alone might serve, so the Congress could 
believe, to guarantee American military 
strength for some years. Belief in the need 
of a sizable military establishment endured 
only long enough to put on the statute 
books the National Defense Act of June 
1920 before a reaction swept away all idea 
of American participation in international 
affairs and, at the same time, interest in 
the Army. The slogan "Back to Nor- 
malcy," which carried Warren G. Harding 
into the White House, spelled not only 
repudiation of the League of Nations but 
rejection of plans to build a strong peace- 
time Army. Budget cuts for the War 
Department soon made unattainable the 
Army of 280,000 men and 18,000 officers 
authorized by the National Defense Act 
and reduced the Ordnance Department 
program to a shadow of the substance 
hoped for. 

Meanwhile, despite American refusal to 



join the League of Nations, a steadily 
mounting pressure to work for permanent 
peace began to make itself felt. This pres- 
sure somewhat altered the temper of the 
Congress, encouraging small appropria- 
tions for national defense. The naval 
building truce of 1922, followed by the 
Locarno Pact in 1925, and the high point 
of faith in world peace reached with the 
signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact in 
1928, made reasonable the hope that the 
Army need be only a police force. If war 
could be outlawed, Ordnance equipment 
could be kept at a minimum. 

The depression of the thirties called a 
sudden halt to America's efforts to play a 
leading role in establishing permanent 
world peace. The general attitude now be- 
came: "Attend to problems at home and 
let other nations take care of themselves." 
Appropriations for the Ordnance Depart- 
ment in the early thirties were reduced to 
save money, apparently without regard to 
achieving any purely moral goal. Tem- 
porarily, additional funds from PWA and 
WPA bolstered the Ordnance Department. 
The public could view the later, larger 
allocations of money for Ordnance as part 
of a make-work program, primarily a 
means of shoring up the whole economy. 
Absorbed in domestic troubles, the United 
States turned its back upon Europe and 
Asia. The Italo-Ethiopian war, the Ger- 
man occupation of the Rhineland, the 
"dress rehearsal" of the Spanish Civil War, 
and the Japanese "incident" in Manchuria 
failed to rouse profound apprehensions in 
the United States. Conscientious military 
observers could report upon German 
rearmament and append data on new 
weapons, but the Ordnance Department, 
even if it digested the information, could 
not act upon it. 

A partial awakening to the new aggres- 

sive spirit abroad that might involve the 
United States, rigid isolation notwithstand- 
ing, came with the German march into 
Austria in March 1938. It is reasonable to 
believe that this move helped the passage 
of the first act permitting the War Depart- 
ment to place "educational orders" with 
private industry. Antedating by over two 
years President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 
proclamation of a national emergency, the 
permission to spend money to give com- 
mercial concerns experience in manufac- 
turing munitions marked the beginning of 
a new era. The next eighteen months, 
while public opinion veered steadily to- 
ward acceptance of national rearmament, 
saw greatly increased activity in the Ord- 
nance Department. Yet by 1940 the task 
was just begun. 

Because ordnance materiel takes years 
to design, test, and manufacture, and be- 
cause it takes years to teach troops to use 
the finished product, full understanding of 
the Ordnance situation in 1940 calls for 
examination of the problems, achieve- 
ments, and shortcomings of the Ordnance 
Department in the preceding twenty years. 
From 1920 to 1940 plans had always to be 
shaved down, operations were always re- 
stricted, projects were frequently stopped 
short of completion, all for lack of money. 
This fact must be borne in mind, but it 
cannot in itself explain 1940. Hence it is 
necessary to explore the evolution of care- 
ful industrial mobilization plans; the per- 
formance of the newly created Field 
Service Division; the mapping and partial 
execution of a comprehensive artillery 
development program; the experimenta- 
tion with tank design; the difficulties 
besetting Ordnance designers in develop- 
ing weapons that would satisfy the using 
arms, yet, if possible, anticipate the emer- 
gence of Army doctrine adapted to 



modern mechanized warfare; and finally, 
the consequences of faulty use of technical 
intelligence about new foreign equipment. 
Inasmuch as ordnance cannot be hastily 
improvised, the ideas that took shape dur- 
ing the peace years demand attention. 
Activities long established and conducted 
along accepted lines warrant no discussion 
here, for they represent no new facet of 
Ordnance Department problems. The or- 
ganization of the Department must be 
described briefly in order to supply the 
framework within which operations were 
carried on. Some analysis of the budget 
and yearly appropriations must, of course, 
be included. But though ever-present 
financial considerations, be it repeated, 
and the earmarking of sums for particular 
projects limited Ordnance activities be- 
tween wars, the pattern was not deter- 
mined by money alone. 

Organization, 1919-39 

World War I proved to the War Depart- 
ment and all its branches that its admin- 
istrative machinery must be revamped; 
what had sufficed for the tiny standing 
Army of the early years of the century could 
not bear the load that emergency put upon 
it. 1 The National Defense Act of 1920, 
which established the new over-all organi- 
zation of the War Department, affected the 
Ordnance Department immediately in two 
respects. The first was the increase in the 
number of officers and enlisted men as- 
signed to Ordnance. Before 1917 the Ord- 
nance Department had been limited to 97 
officers; after 1920 it was allotted a major 
general, two brigadier generals, 350 other 
officers, and 4,500 enlisted men. Notable 
though this increase would appear, it was 
only 1.9 and 1.6 percent, respectively, of 
the maximum officer and enlisted strength 
allowed the whole Army, and in actuality 

for twenty years it was never achieved. 
The second and greater consequence of 
the act for the Ordnance Department lay 
in the provision of Section 5a, which gave 
the Assistant Secretary of War "supervi- 
sion of the procurement of all military sup- 
plies and other business of the War 
Department pertaining thereto and the 
assurance of adequate provision for the 
mobilization of materiel and industrial or- 
ganizations essential to wartime needs." 2 
Co-ordination of purchasing activities 
through the Assistant Secretary was in- 
tended to prevent a repetition of the World 
War I competition for facilities among sep- 
arate supply bureaus within the Army. It 
meant that all the services of supply hence- 
forward were to operate both through 
military channels by way of the General 
Staff and through civilian via the Assistant 
Secretary of War. 

The Chief of Ordnance did not wait for 
Congressional action before reorganizing 
his own Department. Because he believed 
that the 1918 experience proved the inher- 
ent weaknesses of any purely functional 
plan of organization, General Williams 
early in 1919 realigned responsibilities, 
setting up a simple, logical scheme which, 
with minor changes, served as the basic 
pattern within the Ordnance Department 
all through the peace years. In describing 
his plan and the slight revisions he put into 
effect in the fall of 1920, he told a group at 
the General Staff College: "There is no 
question in the minds of all of us who have 
had experience in the Ordnance Depart- 
ment but that the subjective system of 

' Sec, lor example: (1) memo, Brig Gen J, H. Rice, 
Chief Ord Off AEF, for CofOrd, 21 Jun 19, sub: Fun- 
damental Relations Between the General Staff and 
Other Branches of the Military Service, OO 320/100, 
\A; and (2) memo, Brig Gen W. S. Peirce, Actg 
CofOrd, for CofS, 18 Apr 19, sub: Organization of the 
Army on a Prace Footing, OO 320/83, NA. 

- U.S. Statutes at Large, XLI, 764-65. 



organization is far superior to the func- 
tional." 3 "Subjective" meant categories of 
weapons, artillery for example, and artil- 
lery ammunition, small arms, and combat 
vehicles. The board of officers he had ap- 
pointed in 1920 to study alternatives 
worked out the details of the organization 
charts only after careful consideration of 
the relative merits of other systems. The 
result was a division of responsibility by 
function only at the top level. This made 
three main units. Design and manufacture 
were assigned to one division, maintenance 
and distribution to another, while the gen- 
eral administrative work that imple- 
mented the other two fell to the third. 
Within the two operating divisions, lines of 
responsibility were drawn "vertically" ac- 
cording to type of commodity, a subjective 
or product system. 1 

Administration was assigned to a Gen- 
eral Office, and for a time to an Adminis- 
tration Division as well, which handled 
fiscal and legal matters for the whole De- 
partment, hired and trained civilian em- 
ployees, supervised military training and 
personnel, and maintained records. In- 
dicative of the new postwar awareness of 
problems of industrial mobilization, a War 
Planning unit was always included as one 
subdivision of the General Office. Though 
the Ordnance district offices, re-estab- 
lished in 1922, undertook some local plan- 
ning, most administrative business of the 
Department between 1920 and 1940 was 
concentrated in Washington under the 
immediate eye of the Chief of Ordnance 
and his staff. 

To the three main divisions of the De- 
partment, the Chief of Ordnance added a 
staff group to serve as general liaison on 
technical questions. The Technical Staff 
was composed of officers and civilians, 
each a specialist in a particular field of 
ordnance design or manufacture — field 

artillery, coast artillery, ammunition, 
small arms, tank and automotive equip- 
ment, or air ordnance. Primarily advisory, 
the Technical Staff was charged with the 
responsibility "to keep informed of the 
trend and progress of ordnance develop- 
ment at home and abroad," and, in keep- 
ing with this assignment, to act as a 
clearing house for information on technical 
engineering problems and to build up a 
technical library in the Ordnance Office. 5 
Members of the Technical Staff did not 
themselves do the creative design work at 
the drawing boards and in the shops where 
pilot models were built. This was the func- 
tion of the engineers of Manufacturing 
Service. But the Technical Staff was 
authorized to recommend research proj- 
ects and to pass upon designs of the 
Manufacturing Service engineers. 

Advisory to the chief of the Technical 
Staff was an Ordnance Committee. Cre- 
ation of this committee marked a true in- 
novation, for it included representatives of 
the using arms and services. It was the suc- 
cessor to the Ordnance Board of prewar 
days but was expressly aimed at giving 
"the line of the army a greater influence 
over the design and development of Ord- 
nance than it ever possessed in the past. 
. . ." B The chief of the Technical Staff ex- 
plained: "The line members of the Ord- 
nance Committee will, therefore, be inti- 

1 Maj. Gen. C. C. Williams, Organization and 
Duties of the Ordnance Department, lecture. General 
Staff College, 21 Feb 21, OH F. 

' ODO 13, 12 Jan 20; 164, 20 Nov 20, OHF. The 
first postwar scheme included a Nitrates Division to 
manage the nitrates plants acquired during the war. 
Later this unit was absorbed into the Manufacturing 

5 ODO 164-, 20 Nov 20. p. 4-, OHF. 

" Memo, Col Golden L'H. Ruggles, Chief of Tech 
Staff, OD, for Maj Gen William L. Kenly, Dir Mil 
Aeronautics, 21 Jan 19, sub: Assignment of Qualified 
Officers of Line to Tech Staff, OD T-2 10.3 13/2. Au- 
thority and Organization, Ordnance Committee 
Minutes. Ord Tech Committee Secretariat files. 



mately concerned in establishing the type 
to be developed, in passing upon and ap- 
proving the preliminary studies and the 
final drawings thereof and, lastly, in mak- 
ing and witnessing the actual test of the 
material and passing final judgment upon 
its satisfactoriness for use by the service." 7 
Not until General George C. Marshall be- 
came Chief of Staff in 1939 did higher au- 
thority insist upon reviewing proposed 
military characteristics. Thus, for twenty 
years it was the Ordnance Committee that 
put the formal seal of approval upon spec- 
ifications and designs after satisfactory 
trials of pilot models were completed, and 
who, after service tests, issued the minutes 
that in effect standardized or rendered ob- 
solete each item of ordnance. As final ap- 
proval of the General Staff and Secretary 
of War on matters of standardization soon 
became practically automatic, Ordnance 
Committee minutes in time constituted 
the orthodox "Bible of Ordnance." From 
the committee stemmed the Book of Stand- 
ards, Ordnance Department — the listing of 
equipment, type by type and model by 
model, accepted for issue to troops. s 

On the operating level, responsibility 
was divided between the Manufacturing 
Service and the Field Service. The Manu- 
facturing Service designed, developed, 
produced or procured, and inspected all 
materiel and ran the manufacturing arse- 
nals and acceptance proving grounds. The 
tests of experimental models, usually held 
at Aberdeen Proving Ground, were con- 
ducted by Manufacturing Service engi- 
neers, although the Technical Staff was in 
charge and prepared the formal reports of 
tests. When the district offices were recon- 
stituted in 1922, Manufacturing Service 
directed their activities also. Within the 
Manufacturing Service, the breakdown of 
duties of lower echelons was by commod- 

ity — ammunition, artillery, aircraft arma- 
ment, and small arms. Field Service had 
charge of all storage depots, maintenance 
and issue of equipment to troops, and all 
salvage operations. With the appearance 
of the more detailed organization orders of 
1931, Field Service was assigned prepara- 
tion of standard nomenclature lists, tech- 
nical regulations, firing tables, and the 
tables of organization and basic allow- 
ances whereby distribution of Ordnance 
supplies was to be made. Field Service, 
like Manufacturing Service, set up sepa- 
rate operating units, during most of the 
period before 1940 consisting of four divi- 
sions, Executive, General Supply, Ammu- 
nition, and Maintenance. Although there 
was some shifting of particular duties from 
one major division of the Ordnance De- 
partment to another and some redistribu- 
tion of tasks and titles within a division, 
this general pattern remained intact for 
twenty years. It was endorsed by the Gen- 
eral Staff after a thorough survey of the 
Department in 1929. 51 

7 I'll Ibid. (2) Memo, Gen Williams for CofS, 5 Feb 
19. sub: Assignment of Qualified Officers of ihe Line 
to the Technical Staff'. OO 023/428, NA. (3) ODO 
815, 23 Jul 19. OHF. 

3 < 1) AR 850-25, 15 Dec 24; 15 Jun 27; 15 Jul 31; 
23 Jul 36. (2) Tech Staff General Instructions 7, 27 
Sep 24. sub: Book of Standards, Ordnance Department, 
Authority and Organization, Ordnance Committee 
Minutes, Ord Tech Committee Secretariat files. 

See also discussion in Mark Skinner Watson, Chief 
of Staff, Prewar Plans and Preparations (Washington, 
1950), pp. 54-55. 

8 (1) ODO 412, 22Jun 22: ODO 425, 28 Aug 22: 
ODO 573, 1 Dec 24; ODO 10, 20 Jan 31; ODO 27, 
4 Jun 32; ODO 37, 20 Jun 33; ODO 43, 14 Oct 33; 
and ODO 1 1 2, 3 Jun 38, OHF. (2) Survey of Ord 
Dept, 20 Sep 29, OO 320/377. NA. 

A good example of a reshuffling of labels without 
fundamental change in assignment of duties was the 
order of 1938 placing both the Technical Staff and 
the Field Service under a "Chief of Military Service." 
Both groups carried on their independent activities 
as before. See ODO 112, 3 Jun 30, and ODO 122, 31 
Jul 39, OHF. 



The orders of 1931 made more explicit 
allocation of duties in the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, than had earlier organization 
orders. Issued shortly before the announce- 
ment of the first War Department Indus- 
trial Mobilization Plan, the new organiza- 
tion was "intended basically for either 
peace or war," a scheme that would enable 
changes in time of emergency to be con- 
fined to expansion by elevating branches 
to sections and sections to divisions. 10 The 
only significant change was the assign- 
ment to Field Service of responsibility for 
depots attached to arsenals and for Ord- 
nance sections of Army general depots. 

Revision in the summer of 1939 in turn 
reflected the reviving importance of the 
Ordnance Department, as the Congress, 
viewing the troubled world situation, ap- 
propriated money for educational orders 
and over-all Army expansion. While the 
1939 organization plan of the Department 
was in essentials identical with the earlier, 
the order clearly specified new lines of ac- 
tivity. For example, the Technical Staff 
was charged with arranging to furnish 
qualified men to represent Ordnance on 
the technical committees of other branches 
of the War Department and was to review 
technical and training regulations, super- 
vise training of Reserve officers assigned 
to Technical Staff work, and pass upon re- 
quests for loans and sales under the 
American Designers Act and upon appli- 
cations for patents to determine their 
status regarding military secrecy. In the 
Industrial Service, as the Manufacturing 
Service was relabeled in 1938, a new Pro- 
curement Planning Division was created 
to expedite execution of educational or- 
ders placed with commercial producers 
and to prepare the path for greater co-op- 
eration with private industry. Training of 
Reserve officers here was also specifically 

directed. Field Service similarly added a 
unit, a War Plans and Training Division, 
and was instructed to so organize its Gen- 
eral Supply Division that it could handle 
sales to foreign governments and other au- 
thorized purchasers. 11 In almost every 
particular the new enumeration of duties 
bespoke a comprehension of emergency 
needs, though war in Europe had not yet 
broken out. As far as paper organization 
went, the Office of the Chief of Ordnance 
had girded its loins in advance. 

The arsenals, manufacturing installa- 
tions long antedating World War I, were 
not profoundly affected by reassignments 
of responsibility in Washington. At the 
head of each arsenal was an officer of the 
Department who combined the roles of 
commanding officer of the installation as a 
military post and manager of a large in- 
dustrial plant. His dual position was a 
small-scale replica of that of the Chief of 
Ordnance in relation to the Army as a 
whole. The commanding officers of the 
arsenals were allowed small staffs of lower 
ranking officers, in the lean days of the 
mid-twenties about four each, later seven 
or eight. One officer was usually assigned 
to the arsenal experimental unit, one as 
Works Manager or Production Manager, 
and one to head the Field Service depot 
after the Field Service installation at the 
arsenal was set up separately. Most of the 
administrative personnel and all the pro- 
duction workers in the shops were civilian. 
Many of them were Civil Service career 
men with long years of arsenal service; it 
was not unusual to find foremen who had 
been employees at one arsenal for thirty or 
forty years. These men supplied the con- 
tinuity in operations that the officers, 
transferred after, at most, a four-year tour 

"' ODO 10, 20 Jan 31, p. 1, OHF. 
" ODO 122, 31 Jul 39, OHF. 



of duty at any one station, could not give. 
The old-timers, possessed of the know-how 
of ordnance manufacture, were the men 
who perpetuated the art. Though this 
superimposition of a perpetual succession 
of relatively inexperienced officers upon 
civilian administrators and workmen long 
expert in their own fields might appear to 
presage conflict, relations between the mil- 
itary and civilians in the peace years were 
as a rule easy to the point of cordiality. 

Design or redesign of any piece of 
equipment might be undertaken by engi- 
neers in the Office, Chief of Ordnance, in 
Washington or might be assigned to men 
at one of the arsenals. Before 1940, regard- 
less of the birthplace of a design, the first 
pilot was always built at an arsenal. The 
arsenal chosen depended on the article, 
since the postwar reorganization allotted 
each establishment particular items for 
which it alone had "technical responsibil- 
ity." Thus, one or another of the six man- 
ufacturing arsenals filed and kept up to 
date the drawings and specifications for 
every article made or purchased by the 
Department. Rock Island, for example, 
assembled and kept all data on the manu- 
facture of tanks; Frankford the drawings 
and specifications on optical and fire con- 
trol instruments; and Springfield Armory 
the data on rifles and aircraft armament. 1 " 
No two arsenals necessarily had the same 
internal organization at any given mo- 
ment. The commanding officer could 
align his staff as he saw fit as long as the 
arsenal mission was achieved. 13 Basic re- 
search laboratories were maintained at 
every arsenal save Springfield and Water- 
vliet; every one had an experimental unit, 
whether within or outside an engineering 
department, and each had its shops and its 
administrative division. When arsenal em- 
ployees numbered only a few hundred, ar- 

senal organization was simple; it was 
elaborated somewhat when, toward the 
end of the thirties, activity increased. War 
planning sections were established in 1935 
and charged with maintaining liaison with 
district offices and with commercial pro- 
ducers who had to be furnished blueprints 
and descriptions of processes of manufac- 
ture of the weapons or parts they might 
contract to make. M Training inspectors for 
accepting the products of contracting 
firms was always an arsenal duty. 

After the Armistice the district offices 
were closed one after the other, as con- 
tracts were terminated and salvage opera- 
tions neared completion, until only Chi- 
cago and Philadelphia survived. ir ' When 
surplus materiel, raw materials, and ma- 
chine toots still undisposed of had been 
turned over to the arsenals or field depots, 
no function appeared to remain for pro- 
curement districts. But by 1922 War De- 
partment stress on planning industrial 
mobilization pointed to the wisdom of re- 
creating a skeleton organization of district 
offices. Establishing these offices in peace- 
time to prepare for wartime procurement 
was a totally new departure. It showed 
how fully the War Department had 
learned that ordnance manufacture de- 
mands a skill not to be acquired overnight. 
Thirteen districts were formed covering the 
same areas as in the war, except that a San 
Francisco office was split off from the St. 
Louis District. Like the arsenals, the dis- 
tricts were a responsibility of the Manu- 

' -' Aircraft armament immediately after World War 
I had constituted a separate division of Manufactur- 
ing Service with an office at Wright Field in Dayton, 
Ohio, but the reduction of staff in the summer of 1921 
led to the transfer of this activity to Springfield Ar- 
mory. (1) ODO 847, 15 Aug 19, OHF. (2) Hist of 
Springfield Armory, 1918-41, OHF. 

1:1 ODO 854, 14 Aug 19, OHF. 

14 Sec arsenal histories, MSs in OHF. 

15 ODO 207, 29 Jan 21, OHF. 



facturing Service. The civilian district 
chiefs were leading businessmen familiar 
with the industrial facilities of their re- 
gions. Each was assigned a Regular Army 
officer as an assistant and each had a 
clerk. Before 1939 this was the whole 
staff. The chiefs assembled records of com- 
panies' war performance, made surveys of 
potential ordnance manufacturing capac- 
ity, and kept alive in their districts some 
understanding of Ordnance procurement 
problems. The value of the districts lay 
less in what they accomplished during the 
peace years than in their maintaining in 
standby condition the administrative ma- 
chinery for procurement. 1 '' Meanwhile, 
probably the best public relations device 
of these years in nourishing the interest of 
American industry in Ordnance manufac- 
ture was the Army Ordnance Association, 
founded in 1920, together with its maga- 
zine, Army Ordnance. 

Apart from the proving grounds, manu- 
facturing arsenals, loading plants, and dis- 
trict offices, all field installations were the 
responsibility of Field Service. This new 
postwar service found itself obliged to or- 
ganize and expand simultaneously. Mani- 
festly, the handful of depots and repair ar- 
senals that had existed before 1917 were 
totally insufficient to handle the storage 
and maintenance of the vast quantities of 
materiel accumulated at the end of the 
war. Nor did earlier experience offer any 
pattern of permanent organization and 
procedure. In September 1919 the Provi- 
sional Manual for Ordnance Field Service 
appeared, embodying the principles that 
had proved sound in overseas operations; 
upon this basis Field Service proceeded to 
organize the details of its work in this 
country. 17 Meanwhile, though makeshift 
arrangements were necessary to provide 
temporary storage for the tons of materiel 

that had accumulated in the United States 
immediately after the Armistice and that 
were soon augmented by shipments of 
supplies returned from overseas, common 
sense dictated formulation of some settled 
policy on what stocks of munitions as well 
as what manufacturing facilities were to 
be maintained for the future. The reports 
of the so-called Munitions Board, ap- 
pointed by the Chief of Ordnance in the 
summer of 1919 to wrestle with this prob- 
lem, formed the basis upon which plans for 
storage and maintenance were built. Yet 
it is worth noting that the failure of the 
General Staff and the Secretary of War to 
act upon some of the board's recommen- 
dations imposed upon the Ordnance De- 
partment obligation to store and maintain 
far larger quantities of munitions than the 
board believed could reasonably be 
marked as primary reserve. This reserve 
affected scheduling for the manufacture 
of new ammunition, 18 

The decision approved by the Secretary 
of War was to create a network of depots, 
some reserved for ammunition, the rest for 
other ordnance supplies. The five depots 
built during World War I along the Atlan- 
tic seaboard to serve as forwarding centers 
for overseas shipments were designated as 

ln (1) Ann Rpi SIV, 1921, p. 172; 1922, pp. 249-50. 
(2) ODO 404, 17 May 22, OHF. (3) Wayne W. Cow- 
an, "Ordnance District Operation in War," Army Ord- 
nance, XIV, 80 (1933). 96-99. 

(1) Provisional Manual for Ordnance Field Serv- 
ice, September 1919 (Washington, 1920), NA. (2) 
Field Service, . . . General Duties and Functions, 1 
May 1921 (Washington, 1921), pp. 8-9, NA 

,fi (1) Memo, CofOrd for CofS, 29 Jan 21, sub: De- 
velopment of a Munitions Policy, and incl, memo, 
Board of Officers, appointed by Ord Office Order 
798, for CorOrd, 14 Jan 21, sub: Final Rpt of Bd, 
OKD 470/135.1, Ord Tech Intel Hies. (2) Memo. Stat 
and Ind War Planning Sec for ASW, 30 Nov 22, sub: 
Introduction to 1922 Ord War Plan, OO 381, NA. (3) 
Statement of Maj Gen C. M. Wesson before the Tru- 
man Committ ee. U.S. Senate. April 194 1. p. 3, OIIF. 
(4) See bclow j "Field Service," pp. 59ff.| 



ammunition depots where 25 percent of 
the permanent reserve was to be stored. A 
new depot near Ogden, Utah, was to take 
15 percent and one at Savanna, Illinois, 
the rest. 15 ' Four establishments combined 
supply functions with repair work: Au- 
gusta Arsenal in Georgia, Benicia Arsenal 
in California, San Antonio Arsenal in 
Texas, and Raritan Arsenal built at Me- 
tuchen, New Jersey, during the war. The 
first three dated from before the Civil War 
and had long operated machine shops for 
overhaul, repair, and modification work. 
But differentiation between ammunition 
and general storage or repair depots was 
never complete. Raritan, after 1919 by far 
the largest of the Field Service depots, be- 
came not only an ammunition depot and 
a repair arsenal but also the seat of the 
Ordnance Enlisted Specialist School and, 
in 1921, the office responsible for publica- 
tion of the standard nomenclature lists. 

By 1923 the twenty-two storage depots 
that existed in 1920 had shrunk to six- 
teen — seven ammunition, two reserve, and 
seven general supply depots. These were 
Raritan Arsenal; Delaware General Ord- 
nance Depot, located near Wilmington; 
Curtis Bay near Baltimore; Nansemond 
near Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston in 
South Carolina; Ogden; Savanna in Illi- 
nois; Augusta; Benicia; San Antonio; 
Rock Island; Wingate in New Mexico; 
Erie Proving Ground and Columbus Gen- 
eral Supply Depot in Ohio; New Cumber- 
land General Depot in Pennsylvania; and 
the Schenectady General Depot in New 
York State. General depots were those 
where more than one Army supply service 
maintained sections. Overseas, technically 
outside the command of the Chief of Ord- 
nance, Field Service had three depots, in 
Hawaii, Panama, and the Philippines; 
and after 1923 the depots at the manufac- 

turing arsenals were turned over to Field 

Command of each of these installations 
was usually assigned to an Ordnance offi- 
cer who reported to the Chief of Field 
Service in the Office, Chief of Ordnance, 
in Washington. As at the manufacturing 
arsenals, subordinate officers, enlisted 
men, and civilians made up the rosters, 
numbers depending on the size and com- 
plexity of operations at the depot. Ideal 
execution of the multiple functions of Ord- 
nance depots — reception, classification, 
storage, inspection, maintenance, and is- 
sue — would have required more personnel 
than the Ordnance Department could 
muster through the peace years. But to 
Field Service was assigned the largest 
number of the Department's military per- 
sonnel. The value of the property to be ac- 
counted for was about $1 ,31 1,949,000 in 
the spring of 1 92 1 . - 1 Although in time this 
valuation dropped as ammunition stores 
deteriorated and weapons, even when 
serviceable, approached obsolescence, the 
property accountability of Field Service 
continued to be heavy. This routine ac- 
counting, the necessarily complicated per- 
petual check on inventories through the 
Ordnance Provision System, and the spe- 
cialized nature of the materiel repair and 
maintenance work conducted at depots 
demanded trained men. Hence, Field 
Service was at first charged with training 
all Ordnance troops except proving 
ground companies. While later the special 

Charles Baxter, ''Ogden Arsenal," Army Ordnance, 
I, 1 (1920), 23-24. 

2,1 Field Service, . . . General Duties and Func- 
tions, 1 May 21, NA. In the case of the depots at the 
manufacturing arsenals, the arsenal commanding offi- 
cer often acted as chief of the depot, in order to save 
officers for other assignment. 

- 1 Computed from data in Directory of Ordnance 
Establishments. 26 Apr 21, Ord Library, U294 




service schools became the responsibility of 
the General Office of the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, enlisted men gained practical 
experience in such essential operations as 
stock-record-keeping chiefly at Field Serv- 
ice depots. 22 

Storage depots were classified as re- 
serve, intermediate, embarkation, area, 
and station storage. The first were what 
the name implied, depots for war reserve 
materiel; the second were for supplies to 
be issued in bulk to territorial commands 
and theatres of operations; embarkation 
storage depots were bases for overseas 
shipments; area storage for storage and 
issue within particular territorial com- 
mands; and station storage for items to be 
issued locally to troops at Army posts and 
camps. Ammunition depots, recognized as 
constituting a special problem, were or- 
ganized differently. Classification of am- 
munition for storage was sixfold: finished 
ammunition and loaded components; 
smokeless powder; fuzes and primers; high 
explosives; sodium nitrate; and inert com- 
ponents such as empty shell, metallic com- 
ponents of fuses, and also small arms am- 
munition. To safeguard against deteriora- 
tion, careful provision was made for "sur- 
veillance" with a "Surveillance Inspector" 
responsible for periodic testing of explo- 
sives at each large ammunition depot. 23 
Maintenance of other materiel was a re- 
sponsibility divided between repair arse- 
nals servicing designated Army corps 
areas and the Ordnance officers assigned 
to the staff of each of the nine corps area 
commanders and commanders of foreign 
departments. The position and duties of 
officers responsible for maintenance of 
equipment in the hands of troops were 
analogous to those of Ordnance officers of 
armies operating in the field. 24 

The organization of the Ordnance De- 


PAT, Chief of Ordnance, 1934-38. 

partment during the "twenty-year Armis- 
tice" was thus orderly and well suited to 
the scale of operations the Department 
was allowed. Restriction to fewer than 270 
officers before 1939 automatically limited 
what the Department could accomplish. 
That all gaps and overlappings of duties 
were not provided for was fully admitted. 
The Chief of Ordnance stated flatly in 
January 1 93 1 : "Whereas this order is in- 
tended to indicate division of responsibil- 
ity and lines of authority within the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, it is obvious that hard 
and fast lines cannot be drawn. Lapses 
and overlaps are bound to occur. With 

- a ODO 425 

28 Aug 22: 573. 5 Dec 24, OHF. See 

"Field Service," pp. 59ff. 
:i Field Service, . . "General Duties and Func- 
tions, 1 May 21, pp. 18-23, 29-38, NA. 

2 " (1) Ibid., pp. 51-52. (2) WD GO 80, 1919, and 
WD GO 21, 1920. 



this order as a guide, all are enjoined to 
co-operate in the effort to best perform the 
functions as a whole." 25 In the field instal- 
lations, as in the Washington office, on the 
whole the machinery worked. 

Four chiefs of Ordnance served the De- 
partment during the years between world 
wars: General Williams, 1918-30; Maj. 
Gen. Samuel Hof, 1930-34; Maj. Gen. 
William H. Tschappat, 1934-38; and Maj. 
Gen. Charles M. Wesson, 1938-42. Gen- 
eral Williams, an officer whose conception 
of the Ordnance mission had been pro- 
foundly affected by his overseas service in 
1917-18, combined openmindedness with 
unusual administrative ability. His vig- 
orous pursuit of the Westervelt Board rec- 
ommendations on new equipment, his en- 
couragement of industrial mobilization 
planning, and his judicious selection of of- 
ficers to carry out these basic policies 
earned him universal respect. Department 
morale during his term of office was excep- 
tionally high. His successor, General Hof, 
was handicapped by the curtailment of 
Ordnance funds, a result of the country- 
wide depression of the early thirties. Hof 's 
greatest contribution to the Department 
lay in preserving the gains it had already 
made. General Tschappat, known to his 
associates as the greatest ballistician of all 
time, was pre-eminently concerned with 
the scientific aspects of ordnance and, by 
his insistence upon the importance of this 
field, laid the groundwork for much of the 
later research and development program. 
General Wesson began his tour as chief 
shortly before the Congress and the Amer- 
ican public discovered the necessity of ex- 
tensive re-equipping of the Army. To this 
problem General Wesson dedicated his 
considerable experience. As a former as- 
sistant military attache in London, for 
four years the chief of the Technical Staff 
in the office of the Chief of Ordnance, and 

Ordnance, 1930-34. 

for the next four years the commanding 
officer at Aberdeen Proving Ground, he 
had a wide knowledge of Ordnance mate- 
riel and Army needs. Methodically, and 
with unfaltering confidence in the ability 
of the Ordnance Department to meet the 
new demands, General Wesson laid and 
executed his plans for the war ahead. 

The Budget 
Ordnance Appropriations, 1919-37 

In 1919 the Ordnance Department ex- 
pected the Congress to cut its appropria- 
tions sharply, but it failed to envisage the 
extreme economy wave of the mid-twen- 
ties that reduced Ordnance funds far be- 
low even those of prewar years. No one 

2S ODO 10. 20 Jan 31, OHF. 



Table 1 — Total Appropriations for the Ordnance Department Compared With 
Total Appropriations for the Military Activities of the War Department 

Fiscal Year 


War Department 



$10, 093,856.00 

3115,696, 518.61 

8. 72 


9, 210,554.60 

109, 971,367. 17 



8, 794, 475. 00 

104, 845,810.52 

8. 38 



115, 561,920. 10 

7. 78 


9, 503, 641. 00 


8. 42 


12, 353,432.00 

125,514, 560. 95 

9. 84 



113,505, 383.29 



20, 805, 634. 79 

813,304,262. 20 



22, 880,186.06 

495, 122, 339. 55 

4. 62 



373,019, 831.22 



6, 859, 030. 00 

270, 184, 805. 19 

2. 52 


5,812, 180.00 

256,669, 118.00 

2. 26 


7, 751,272.00 

260,246, 731.67 

2. 97 


7, 543. 802. 00 

260, 757, 250. 00 



9, 549, 827. 00 

270,872,055. 16 



12, 179, 856.00 

300, 781, 710. 93 



12, 549, 877.00 

317,378, 294.00 




331, 748, 443. 50 



12, 422,466.00 

347, 379, 178. 61 

3. 57 


11, 121,567.00 

335, 505, 965. 00 

3. 31 


11,588, 737.00 

299, 993, 920. 00 



7,048, 455.00 

277, 126, 281.00 

2. 54 


11,049, 829.00 

263,640, 736.00 

4. 19 


17,110, 301.00 

312,235, 811.00 

5. 47 



394,047, 936.33 



24, 949, 075. 00 

415, 508, 009. 94 



112,226, 412.00 

462, 252, 552. 89 

24. 27 


176, 546. 788.00 

813,816, 590. 74 


a For the years 1937^40 the figures are those of the Ordnance Budget and Fiscal Branch. 
Source: Ord Fiscal Bull 2, p. 30, NA. 

could think the United States a militaristic 
country in 1910, yet the ten million dollars 
allotted for that year was nearly twice the 
figure for 1924. Ordnance appropriations 
for 1 924 were set at $5 ,8 1 2, 1 80. In the en- 
tire 1920-40 period this figure was the 
nadir not only absolutely but also rela- 
tively, as it constituted only 2.26 percent 
of the entire War Department appropria- 
tions, whereas the average from 1910 
through 1915 had been 8.58 percent. Not 
until 1939 did the ratio again equal that 

of pre- World War I years. 26 (See Table J.) 
The cuts in appropriations precipitated a 
struggle to keep activities going at all. The 
reduction in funds was not paralleled by 
an appreciable sloughing off of Ordnance 
responsibilities at arsenals, depots, labora- 
tories, and testing grounds, yet necessi- 
tated reduction of force, both military and 

Heavy maintenance expenses obtained 

2fi WDAB 1922, IIR, p. 1020. 



through all these years. Col. David M. 
King, Ordnance Department, early ex- 
plained the situation to a Congressional 
committee: "whether the Army is to have 
175,000, 200,000 or 225,000 men has little 
to do with the size of the appropriation 
'Ordnance Service.' The Ordnance De- 
partment has the enormous quantities of 
property to be guarded, protected, and 
cared for, regardless of any other consid- 
eration." 27 In 1920, 1,580 guards and 
firemen were required to protect the vastly 
increased postwar establishment and ma- 
teriel, whereas 100 or less had sufficed be- 
fore the war. Not only were labor and sup- 
plies more expensive, but plants and depots 
were more widely scattered, and often 
larger. In 1916, with only fourteen small 
plants, the Department had received 
$290,000 for repairs. In 1929 with twenty- 
four plants and ten times the capital in- 
vestment, it got less than $800,000. The 
1929 War Department survey recom- 
mended an immediate increase of over 50 
percent "to preserve the Government 
property from serious deterioration." And 
in a later paragraph the survey stated: "To 
carry out the mission of the Ordnance De- 
partment in accordance with programs 
approved by the War Department would 
require annual appropriations of $54,000,- 
000." 28 

In spite of the collapse of the stock 
market and the beginning of the country- 
wide depression, in the late twenties and 
early thirties appropriations picked up 
somewhat and in 1931 were over 
$12,000,000. Then, as the Congress real- 
ized the severity of the depression, it again 
cut Ordnance funds, for 1934 appropriat- 
ing only $7,048,455. At this point only 
Navy orders placed with the Army Ord- 
nance Department saved Watertown and 
Watervliet Arsenals from being closed 

down altogether. Had this occurred, it is 
doubtful whether they could have been 
resuscitated later. By 1936 at Watervliet 
Arsenal 85 percent of the year's work was 
for the Navy and at Watertown more than 
half. 2 " 

Fortunately, the financial picture after 
1932 was less somber than the official 
figures of Ordnance appropriations would 
suggest. The extensive emergency relief 
program that the Roosevelt administration 
launched in 1933 benefited the Depart- 
ment greatly. During the Hoover adminis- 
tration the Congress had set the precedent 
in the First Deficiency Act of 6 February 
1931 by which Ordnance obtained a grant 
of $471,005 for repairs to arsenals. In 
1934-35 relief funds for Ordnance pur- 
poses were sizable: 30 

Procurement and preservation of 

ammunition $ 6,000,000 

Procurement of motor vehicles 1,163,200 

Procurement of machine guns 349,204 

Seacoast defenses 1,007,660 

Procurement of machinery for modern- 
ization 2,309,491 

Repair and preservation of Ordnance 
materiel, storehouses, water mains, 

and roads at Rock Island 370,000 

Repairs to buildings at Watertown 

Arsenal 89,000 

TOTAL $11,288,555 

2 ' WDAB 1921, HR, p. 536. 

L>s Survey of WD. 1929, pp. 6-7, 18, NA. 

(1) Intcrvs with Col George Outland, and with 
August Dabiasky, 7 Dec 49. Dabrasky was an OD de-, 
signer who had formerly been with Navy Ordnance. 
Dabrasky, Maj, Thomas K. Vincent, and Col. Edwin 
D. Bricker, ofWatervliet, through personal friendship 
with Navy Ordnance men, contrived this deal, which 
saved the arsenals. (2) Memo, GofOrd for AGofS G-4, 
7 Jan 37, sub: Steps Taken by OD to Effect Econo- 
mies. . . , OO 11 1.3/6310, NA. 

10 Ord Fisc Bull 1. p. 6, and Bull 5, p. 4, NA. Ex- 
cept for 3370,000 from PWA funds, this money came 
from funds appropriated in the National Recovery 



The total amount, spread over two years, 
roughly equaled normal appropriations 
for one year. The Roosevelt administration 
stressed projects that employed large num- 
bers of men rather than expensive equip- 
ment, and much of the repair work at 
Ordnance installations fitted admirably 
into that category. From the Civil Works 
Administration, Ordnance received about 
$1,390,000, mostly for the pay of laborers 
to spray and paint buildings and to clean 
and reslush machinery. Though this labor 
force taken from the rolls of the unem- 
ployed was usually unaccustomed to Ord- 
nance assignments and suffered many 
physical handicaps, it accomplished valu- 
able work that must otherwise have been 
delayed or left undone. 31 

Every Ordnance establishment inevi- 
tably felt the pinch of economy, especially 
in the years from 1923 to 1936. At Spring- 
field Armory, for example, the civilian staff 
of the Ordnance Laboratory in 1923 was 
cut from sixteen to four persons, 32 and 
over-all cuts in personnel were propor- 
tionate. (See Table 2.) The story at Spring- 
field was typical. At Watervliet when Lt. 
Col. William I. Westervelt assumed com- 
mand on 31 May 1921 he supervised 550 
employees; on 1 September 1923, the date 
of his transfer, only 220 employees. Under 
his successor, Col. Edwin D. Bricker, 
Watervliet touched a low of 198 employ- 
ees. 33 Secretary of War John W T . W r eeks in 
the fall of 1922 noted that on 1 January 
1923 there would be a smaller force em- 
ployed in the government arsenals than at 
any time in the previous twenty years. 34 
The close correlation between Ordnance 
appropriations and Ordnance payrolls 
meant that as funds in the mid-twenties 
dipped below the levels of the 1910-15 
period, so also did total personnel. 1 ' 

From 1919 on, the Chief of Ordnance, 

Table 2 — Employees and Payroll at 
Springfield Armory 

Fiscal Year Ending 30 June 

for Year 

Mont lily 



3331, 162 









35, 176 




1925 ^ 






1927 _ 





47, 646 






63, 236 



63, 498 







1934 . 


79, 856 






112, 652 

1937 . 



1938 _ 


154, 645 



192, 140 



272, 207 

Source: Hist of Springfield Armor/, Vol. II, OHF. 

General Williams, protested vigorously 
against the small quota of officers allotted 
to the Department, He submitted in 1919 
a figure of 494 officers as "a bona fide 
minimum estimate . . . not subject to 
discount." Instead, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment was allotted 258 officers, a number 

31 WDAB 1935, MR, pp. 265-66. 
- The Ord Lab at Springfield, p. 1, OHF. 

" Hist of Watervliet Arsenal, 1813-1946, pp. 101- 
02, OHF. This was the General Westervelt who had 
headed the Westervelt Board and was now reduced to 
permanent grade. 

:H John W. Weeks, "Industrial Mobilization," Army 
Ordnance III, 15 (1922), 134. 

(1) Ord Civ Pers Br notebook containing State- 
ment of Ord Pers in Field, 1910 to 1933, N A. (2) Ord 
Fisc Bull 2, p. 30. NA. 


Table 3 — Ordnance Department Military and Civilian Strength: 1919^1 

30 June 

Total Military 


Strength * 







10, 597 



( b ) 


4, 081 


3, 713 

( b ) 





14, 569 




2, 799 

8, 119 




2, 291 







4, 561 






4, 378 




2, 304 


4, 754 




2, 269 






2, 394 




2, 676 


2, 398 






2, 299 


6, 852 


2, 498 


2, 223 




2, 500 


2, 229 




2, 382 


2, 112 


6, 751 


2, 348 


2, 077 


8, 986 




2, 135 




2, 631 


2, 362 




2, 990 


2, 720 


10, 921 




2, 771 


12, 656 




2, 776 








27, 088 


27, 073 


24, 049 


67, 612 

6 Represents military personnel in all Army commands whose duty branch was reported as Ordnance Department; does not include 
personnel assigned to the Chief of Ordnance whose duty branch was reported as an arm or service other than Ordnance Department. 
b Data not available. 

Source: Stat Div, Office of Army Comptroller, 1949. Military: Ann Rpts SW. Civilian: 1921 from Special Rpt 158. 12 Nov 21, Stat 
Br, WDGS; 1922 from Regular Rpt 195. 10 Aug 22, Stat Br, WDGS; 1923 and 1924 from Special Rpt 182, 9 Oct 24, Stat Br, WDGS; 
1925-38 from records of Civ Pers Div, Office Secy Army; 1939 from Special Rpt 264, 1 Dec 39, Stat Br, WDGS; 1940 and 1941 from tabu- 
lations in Stat Div, Office of Army Comptroller. 

which General Williams considered en- 
tirely out of line with totals assigned to 
other departments. The average property 
responsibility per Ordnance officer, he 
pointed out, was some $7,000,000, far 
above that of officers in any other branch 
of the Army. 3 " Despite this plea, Ordnance 
officers on active duty as of 30 June 1921 
numbered only 281, and even in 1939, a 
mere 287." (See Table 3.) What the figures 

do not reveal is the excessive reductions in 
rank and the stagnation in promotion that 
stemmed largely from the paring down of 
officer strength. In 1923 reductions for 
noncommissioned officers ran from 2.44 
percent in one grade to 100 percent in 

11 Memo. CofOrd for Dir of Opns and Pers, 2 Oct 
19, sub: Allotment of Personnel, OO 023/735, NA. 

17 Strength of Army tables in Ann Rpt SW , 1921, p. 
157; 1939, facing p. 56. 


Table 4 — Proposed Ten-Year Ordnance Program 



\ju antity 

Units To Be 



1 yvf &7ttry 

Cal. .30 semiautomatic shoulder rifle 


3 divisions 



Cal. .276 semiautomatic shoulder rifles... 


3 divisions 


200, 000 

37-mm. infantrv-accompanying gun 


1 division 


16, 500 

75-mm. infantrv mortar 


1 division 


100, 000 


75-mm. pack howitzer 


2 regiments 

2, 000, 000 


75-mm. field gun 


1 regiment 


100, 000 

105-mm. howitzer 


3 regiments 

4, 1 10, 000 

390, 000 


4.7" gun 


1 regiment 


168, 000 

155-mm. howitzer 


1 regiment 




155-mm. gun 

8" howitzer 

8" railway materiel 

tanks (23-ton, medium) 


Cal. .50 Browning machine gun. 

37-mm, cannon 

3" antiaircraft gun 

105-mm. antiaircraft gun 


Cal. .50 aircraft machine gun 




37-mm. automatic gun- 

_! continue 



as at 



2 battalions 

2 battalions 

4 companies 

3 regiments 




2, 920,000 










$3, 119, 500 

$35, 729, 500 

a Unknown. 

Sourct: Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 8 May 25, sub: Extended Service Test and Limited Rearmament 
Ordnance Weapons in the Next Ten-Year Period,, NA. 

■ith Improved Types of 

another, action that seriously hurt 
morale. 38 At no time did military person- 
nel approach the figure of 350 officers and 
4,500 enlisted men, set in the National 
Defense Act of 1920 as a reasonable peace- 
time level, or the recommendation of 373 
officers in the War Department survey of 

1929. Since of the small staff about 87 per- 
cent was assigned to the Field Service, the 
Chief of Ordnance had only some 35 offi- 

ls Ann Rpt CofOrd. 1923, p. 2. Annua) reports for 
later years frequently comment on the same problem. 
Promotions stagnated also because of the "hump" left 
by World War I. 



cers for all other duties, except in so far as 
officers from other branches of the service 
were detailed to special Ordnance duty. 
This circumstance goes far to explain the 
Department's inability to assign a number 
of officers as military observers abroad. 39 
Lack of money similarly limited plan- 
ning and execution of plans. With the 
experience of World War I to give perspec- 
tive, the Ordnance Department in 1922 
prepared a comprehensive munitions pol- 
icy aimed at procuring for and supplying 
to the Army at all times munitions that 
would "at the minimum be equal in quality 
and quantity to those available to our 
enemy." Achievement of this aim called 
for a development program, a reserve stock 
program, and a manufacturing, replace- 
ment, and rearmament program. 10 Three 
days after its submission, the Ordnance 
statement of basic policy, with a few modi- 
fications, obtained the approval of General 
of the Armies John J. Pershing and the 
Secretary of War. The story of the rearma- 
ment plan will suffice to illustrate the 
effects of the budget cuts. 

To implement the rearmament portion 
of the munitions policy, the Ordnance 
Department on 8 May 1925 submitted to 
the Secretary of War a detailed ten-year 
program of "Extended Service Test and 


(See Table 4.\ 

Limited Rearmament, 
program was critically studied by the Chief 
of Staff and the General Staff, and by the 
Cavalry, Coast Artillery, Air Service, Field 
Artillery, and Infantry. It received enthu- 
siastic approval as a whole, though modifi- 
cations and reductions were recommended. 
General Williams explained that unit cost 
for many of these items was high because, 
as they were new, the expense of dies, jigs, 
tools, and gages had to be added to 
the necessarily high cost of small-scale 

The Ordnance limited rearmament pro- 
gram of 1925 thus proposed merely a 
modest scale of re-equipment for a part of 
the Regular Army. The Adjutant General 
informed the Chief of Ordnance that the 
program would be subject to annual revi- 
sion, and, after lengthy study, the Secre- 
tary of War in April 1926 approved the 
plan with the proviso: "the extent to which 
it is carried out to be dependent upon funds 
appropriated for the purpose." 41 But the 
moderate character of the program failed 
to protect it from large reductions. Cuts 
were made in nearly all items so that the 
$35,729,500 program of 1925 was scaled 
down to the $21,798,500 program of 
1928. 42 Unfortunately, and ironically, the 
maximum production was scheduled for 
1932-36, with the peak in 1935. From the 
start, funds available remained below the 
amounts scheduled even in the reduced 
program. At the Congressional hearings in 
December 1928 for the fiscal year 1930, for 
example, General Williams stated that 
financial limitations had forced reductions 
of $500,000 in the 75-mm. and 105-mm. 
howitzer and 3-inch antiaircraft phases of 
the rearmament program. 43 

By June 1933, more than seven years 
after the ten-year program had been 
approved. Ordnance production of major 
artillery items stood as follows: 44 

!,i Survey of WD. 1929, p. 5, NA. Interv, 20 Sep 49, 
with Col John C. Raaen, exec off to CofOrd, Jun +2- 
Feb 46. 

4 " Memo. CofOrd for Gen Pershing, 6 Jun 22. sub: 
Recommendations as to a Munitions Policy, OO 
023/1553, NA. 

" Ltr, TAG to CofOrd. 12 Apr 25; 3d Ind, 28 Oct 
25; and 5th Ind. 1 2 Apr 26, all in, NA. 

J - Memo. TAG for CofOrd, 24 Feb 28, sub: Altera- 
tion of the Ten Year Ord Program . . . , OO 
400.1 1/1 1 1, NA. 

" WDAB 1929, HR, p. 517; 1930, p. 699. 

" Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1933, par. 15. 



Produced or 

Ten- Year 


Hem Appropriated Fo 

r Goal 


75-mm. pack howitzer. . 




3-inch AA gun 


1 10 


75-mm. mortar 




75-mm. field gun 




105-mm. howitzer 




155-mm. howitzer 


155-mm. gun 


8-inch howitzer 


8-inch railway gun 


L05-mm. AA ^un 


In no category had progress been rapid, 
and in the larger caliber materiel, army, 
corps, and seacoast artillery, not a single 
weapon had been completed. Nor did 
items completed in the next few years 
brighten the picture. Only a few guns and 
mortars came off the production line at the 
arsenals and, apart from three 155-mm. 
guns, there was still no heavy artillery. 43 
Yet The Inspector General's reports con- 
sistently commended the efficiency of the 
arsenals. By and large the program was 
too small to keep the arsenals busy, much 
less to give selected private firms produc- 
tion experience. 4S 

Meanwhile, in line with a War Depart- 
ment attempt to integrate the numerous, 
and often overlapping, programs that had 
been started since the end of the war, the 
Ordnance Department submitted a rear- 
mament and re-equipment program for 
the six-year period, 1935 through 1940. 
The objective was to equip the units 
involved in initial mobilization under the 
L933 mobilization plan. 47 The original 
Ordnance six-year re-equipment program 
as submitted in 1932, although consider- 
ably revised later, offered an excellent pic- 
ture of the most pressing needs of the 
Department in supplying the Army. The 
program called for only $1,400,000 yearly. 
For the six years the chief items, in order 
of cost, ranked: (1) antiaircraft guns, 

$1,240,800; (2) tanks, $1,000,000; (3) com- 
bat cars $837,000; (4) semiautomatic rifles, 
$900,000; (5) railway artillery, $610,000; 
and (6) antitank guns, $442,400. Yet 
budget cuts prevented full execution of 
these plans. For example, in estimates for 
the fiscal year 1938 under its re-equipment 
program the Ordnance Department asked 
for ' $7,849,536. G-4 reduced this to 
$5,395,363, and the Bureau of the Budget 
forced it down to about $5,000,000. 4S The 
Ordnance Department did well when in 
any one year it could proceed at more than 
half the pace envisioned in the six-year 

If the entire rearmament program had 
been carried out, by 30 June 1940 the 
results would have comprised: mechaniz- 
ing one cavalry regiment, equipping the 
1st Cavalry Division with standard 
armored cars, supplying active units of the 
Field Artillery with high-speed artillery, 
new or modernized, supplying antiaircraft 
units with standard materiel including fire 

l! - Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1934, pars. 15-16; 1935, pars. 
16-18; 1936, pars. 14-15; 1937, pars. 17-18: 1938, 
pars. 21-22. By 1938 one 8-inch howitzer T3 was un- 
der manufacture. 

For example, see: (1) rpt to TIG, Ann Inspection 
Springfield Armory, 19 Nov 34, OO 333.1/4102; (2) 
rpt to TIG, Ann Inspection Rock Island Arsenal, 4 
Dec 35, OO 33.3.1/4.366 RIA; (3) rpt to TIG, Ann In- 
spection Frankford Arsenal, 25 Mar 36, OO 
333.1/4404; (4) rpt to TIG, Ann Inspection Picatinny 
Arsenal, 18 Jun 36, OO 333.1/4541. All in NA 1G 

17 Memo, ACofS for DCofS, 7 Sep 34, sub: Rear- 
mament and Reequipment Program, G-4/29552, 
P&E file. Sec 1, NA. For background see in same file, 
(1) memo, ACofS G-4 for TAG, 16 Sep 32; and (2) 
ltr, TAG to Chiefs of WD Arms and Services, 24 Mar 
34, sub: Revision of Six- Year WD Programs, OO 
400.1 1/165, NA. The letter repeats that the objective 
of the programs was the re-equipment of all units to 
be included in the initial mobilization under the 1933 
mobilization plan. 

Is (1) See OO 1 1 1.3/6101-6750 and OO 1 1 1.3 files 
for this period for data illustrative of the constant dif- 
ficulties. (2) Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 25 Nov 
36. OO 1H. 3/6285 and Incl 1. All in NA. 



control, and the beginning of supply to the 
Infantry of new tanks, rifles, mortars, and 
guns. That would have been all. 19 

The consequences of the meagre appro- 
priations year after year, limiting opera- 
tions and narrowing down planning to the 
conceivably attainable, are so clear in 
retrospect that the layman must wonder 
whether the Ordnance Department could 
not have staged a successful fight for more 
money. Could the Chief of Ordnance not 
have persuaded the General Staff to allot 
to him a larger share of the War Depart- 
ment budget? Or, failing that, could he not 
enter a special plea for urgent projects 
when he appeared at hearings of the 
House Appropriations Committee? To the 
second question the answer is an emphatic 
no. The budget law of 1 924 expressly pro- 
hibited any government official from 
appealing to the Congress for more money 
than the President's budget had allotted 
his department, and Army officers were 
further bound by military discipline to 
accept the decision of the Commander in 
Chief, once it had been formulated. 50 The 
most a service chief dared hope to accom- 
plish before the Congress was to present 
his needs so convincingly that the Appro- 
priations Committee would not slice his 
part of the budget. The answer to the first 
question, on the other hand, might theo- 
retically be yes. It was always possible for 
the Chief of Ordnance to protest to the 
General Staff any proposed budget cuts 
before G-4 approved them. But each serv- 
ice had to compete with every other for its 
share. The War Department had to con- 
sider the Army as a whole, and the supply 
branches were not likely to get special 
favors. Still, protocol permitted each chief 
to convince the General Staff, if he could, 
that the needs of his service exceeded those 
of any other, and Ordnance representa- 

tives frequently tried their powers of per- 
suasion. But skillful salesmanship, Ord- 
nance officers agree, was not a strong point 
in the Department during the twenties and 
thirties. Furthermore, military tradition 
precluded protracted argument with one's 
superior officers. There was simply never 
enough money to go round. Each Chief of 
Ordnance in turn was obliged to accept his 
allowance and then stretch it as far as he 

The Upturn, 1938-40 

Fortunately, after 1935 Ordnance 
appropriations increased steadily. Up 
through fiscal year 1938 the gains were in 
line with those for the War Department as 
a whole. For the fiscal year 1939 the Ord- 
nance Department's share showed a pro- 
nounced proportional gain, from 6 percent 
of the War Department total of 1938 to 24 
percent. The Ordnance appropriation for 
1939 was 4.5 times that for 1938 and 16 
times that for 1934. \{See Table As the 
situation abroad darkened, President 
Roosevelt's interest in the deficiencies of 
the armed forces grew. A special message 
to the Congress on 28 January 1938 asked 
for $16,880,000 for antiaircraft materiel, 
manufacture of gages, dies, and the like, 
and a start on making up the ammunition 
deficiency. The Congress promptly author- 
ized this expenditure. The $112,226,412 

"•' Memo, GofOrd for TAG, 2 May 34, sub: Revi- 
sion of Six Year WD Program, OO 400.1 1/165, \'A. 
The using arms submitted suggestions. Typical were 
(1) memo, GofCA for CofOrd, 9 Nov 32, sub: Rearma- 
ment Program. 1935-1940, OO 400.1 1/158; (2) ltr, 
Goflnf to CofOrd, 7 Nov 32, sub: Suggested Six- Year 
Rearmament Program. OO 400. 1 1/1 56 and ind. In 
general, folders OO ' 400. 1 1 / 1 01- 1 50 and OO 
400. 1 1 /28-257 contain much of interest on the re- 
equipment programs. All in NA. 

See Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Prepa- 
rations, pp. 2 1-22. 



available for Ordnance in that summer of 

1938 permitted planning and operations 
on so enlarged a scale that an Assistant 
Chief of Ordnance later declared that for 
the Ordnance Department the war began 
in 1938. 51 

By October descriptions of conditions in 
Europe, particularly information brought 
back by William C. Bullitt, U.S. Ambas- 
sador to France, so alarmed the President 
that he called for immediate reports on 
what was most needed to strengthen the 
Army. 5;i The Chief of Ordnance on 20 
October 1938 presented an itemized bill 
for $125,000,000 as the minimum price for 
meeting Ordnance deficiencies and, one 
day later, an estimate of $349,000,000 as 
the cost of materiel to equip a 4,000,000- 
man Army to be called up under the Pro- 
tective Mobilization Plan. * 3 On 1 2 January 

1939 President Roosevelt, armed with 
detailed figures, forcefully urged upon the 
Congress the appropriation of some 
$477,000,000, of which the Air Corps 
would get the largest amount, and the 
ground forces $1 10,000,000 for new equip- 
ment. In April the Congress passed the 
regular appropriation act granting the 
Ordnance Department $62,000,000. But 
the President's plea for full rearmament 
asked for much more: the proposed bill 
gave Ordnance $55,366,362 in cash for 
expenditures for "Ordnance Service and 
Supplies, Army," plus authorization to 
place contracts with commercial com- 

31 Interv with Brig Gen Earl McFarland, 28 Feb 50. 
See Mark S. Watson, "First Vigorous Steps," Mit- 
itaty Affairs, XII, 2 (194-8), 70. 

" (1) Memo, CofOrd for DCofS G-4, 20 Oct 33. 
sub: Deficiencies in Ordnance Equipment. (2) Memo, 
CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 21 Oct 38, sub: Deficiencies 
in Ordnance Equipment for the Protective Mobiliza- 
tion Plan. Both in Ord Study Folder 69, War Plans 
and Requirements files, DRB AGO. See also b elow, 
"The Protective Mobilization Plan," pp. 53-54. 

panies up to $44,000, 000. 5J The Second 
Deficiency Appropriation Act, when 
passed, carried the exact amounts re- 
quested. The general breakdown for Ord- 
nance read: 

Project Item Amount 

4 Renovation of ammunition. , 810,000,000 
1 1 Maintenance and overhaul of 

materiel in storage 4,891.052 

I 1 Augmentation of stocks of am- 

munition 37,506,505 

I I x\ugmentation of critical items 

of antiaircraft equipment . . 7,581,500 
1 1 Augmentation of other critical 

ordnance items 39,387,305 


"Other critical ordnance items" signified 
chiefly semiautomatic rifles, antitank 
guns, 60-mm. and 81-mm. mortars, 
ground machine guns, trucks, tanks, 8- 
inch railway artillery guns, 155-mm. how- 
itzers, and modernization of 75-mm. 
guns. 55 "Critical" items were defined as 
those essential to effective combat but for 
which the maximum procurement rate fell 
short of war requirements." 6 These appro- 
priations, Ordnance officers declared, 
would enable industry to get ready for pro- 
duction and be somewhat prepared in case 
of real emergency. On 1 July 1939 another 
$11,500,000 was appropriated for Ord- 
nance. Thus, all together the Ordnance 
Department got $176,546,788 for the year 
ahead, $62,000,000 additional in May, 
and approximately $11,500,000 on 1 
July. 57 The total constituted a 58 percent 
increase over the appropriations for 1939. 
The lean years were over, but their legacy 

14 Gash for settlement of contracts authorized in one 
fiscal year was usually appropriated in the next fiscal 

r " Hearings, Second Deficiency Appropriation Bill, 
1939, HR, pp. 454-72. 
: " ! AR 700-10, 24 Oct 42. 

" PL 44, PL 61, and PL 164, 76th Cong, 1st Sess. 



was an accumulated deficiency of desper- 
ately needed materiel. 

Industrial Mobilization Plans 

One immediate consequence of the sup- 
ply tangle of World War I was the War 
Department's decision thenceforward to 
plan in advance. From 1920 on, industrial 
mobilization planning was a task to which 
the Ordnance Department gave constant 
thought. The planning involved two 
stages: preparation of cost estimates and 
schedules of items and quantities needed 
to fit the over-all Army mobilization 
plans; and plans for allocating manufac- 
ture of the materiel to commercial com- 
panies and government arsenals. The War 
Plans Staff in the Office, Chief of Ord- 
nance, was in charge of the first, but the 
Manufacturing Division, because it super- 
vised the district offices and the arsenals, 
had a large part in the second, the actual 
procurement planning. The considerable 
labor expended on both phases of plan- 
ning was a clear reflection of the Ordnance 
Department's conviction that careful 
preparation for industrial mobilization 
was essential if the disasters of supply in 
1917-18 were not to be repeated. 

Three steps taken in the first years after 
the war indicated the constructive think- 
ing of Ordnance officers on this whole sub- 
ject. The Ordnance Munitions Board 
reports, submitted in twenty-four separate 
papers between 1919 and 1921, mapped 
out an intelligent, comprehensive policy 
for keeping the United States Army 
equipped and industry prepared to meet 
military emergency demands. That higher 
authority disregarded many of these rec- 
ommendations in no way invalidates their 
soundness, as later events proved. 58 The 
second measure was the drafting of Section 

5a of the National Defense Act of 1920. 
While this was the work of a number of 
men besides Ordnance officers, several 
high-ranking men in the Department 
played a considerable part in bringing 
about the creation of a War Department 
office specifically charged with responsibil- 
ity for procurement and industrial mobi- 
lization planning." The third move was 
the founding of the Army Industrial Col- 
lege to which officers were assigned to 
study problems of industrial mobilization. 
This project, like the National Defense 
Act, was the fruit of many men's efforts, 
but Ordnance officers conceived the idea 
and by skillful persuasion contributed to 
its realization. 150 Through the years of dis- 
couragement that lay ahead, the Ord- 
nance Department constantly worked at 
the problem of preparing the nation's in- 
dustry for the moment when the nation 
must rearm. Though, as W T orld War II ap- 
proached, Navy and Air Force priorities 
obliged the Department to recast some of 
its plans, Ordnance officers believed that 
their work had been sound and the sur- 
veys and production studies valuable. 61 
To understand the character of this w r ork, 
review of Army mobilization planning and 

'* Interv with Maj Gen Charles T. Harris, 1 Dec 
49. The Munitions Board report was largely the work 
of Maj. James H. Burns. See memo, CofOrd for CofS. 
29 Jan 21, sub: Development of a Munition Policy, 

r,v For full discussion of the origins, content, and im- 
plications of Section 5a, see Trover Anderson's manu- 
script history of the Office of the Under Secretary of 
War, Ch. Ill, pp. 2-5, in OCMH files. 

''" The idea was again more Major Burns' than that 
of any other one person, He was also chiefly responsi- 
ble for converting the Under Secretary, Dwight F. 
Davis, and the Secretary of War, John W. Weeks, to 
faith in the proposal. See (1) Anderson MS, Ch. Ill, 
pp. 30-3 1 , OCMH; and (2) pamphlet, The Industrial 
College of the Armed Forces, 1924-1949, Twenty- 
fifth Anniversary, 25 Feb 49, OHF. 

61 Interv with Gen Harris, 2 Dec 49. 



brief examination of district procurement 
planning is necessary. 

Early Mobilization Plans 

Preparation of over-all Army mobiliza- 
tion plans was a nearly continuous process 
throughout the peace years. The blueprint 
for American rearmament — the elaborate 
Protective Mobilization Plan of the late 
1930's — had its beginnings in the simpler 
plans of the early 1920's. When the Na- 
tional Defense Act of 1920 made the 
Assistant Secretary of War responsible for 
industrial mobilization planning and pro- 
curement, he organized his office to in- 
clude a Planning Branch. This staff, 
together with the Army and Navy Muni- 
tions Board, was charged with co-ordinat- 
ing Army and Navy procurement pro- 
grams and exerted strong influence upon 
the Ordnance Department's planning be- 
tween world wars. For two decades these 
two groups, in the face of public indiffer- 
ence, struggled to devise comprehensive 
programs of industrial mobilization. 

The 1920's saw the completion of sev- 
eral editions of mobilization plans. As soon 
as one version was finished, modification 
began, and usually within four years a new 
one appeared. The earlier plans, especially 
those of 1921 and 1922, tended to be 
chiefly munitions plans for the Army in- 
stead of all-around industrial mobilization 
plans. 02 Ordnance experts who drafted the 
extensive Ordnance annex of the 1922 
plan noted that the 1921 plans were ab- 
surd in that they set impossible require- 
ments for Ordnance. The 1922 over-all 
Ordnance plan ran to about fifty mimeo- 
graphed pages. In addition, the Ordnance 
unit in each corps area had branch plans, 
while Field Service and other divisions, as 
well as all field establishments, each had a 

unit plan prepared by the individual in- 
stallation and submitted to the Chief of 
Ordnance for approval. 153 In 1924 a new 
mobilization plan superseded the less de- 
tailed scheme of 1922. The Ordnance 
Department took its part in the planning 
with such seriousness that it ran an elabo- 
rate test on a mythical M Day to ascertain 
the quality of its plans. Analysis of this test 
revealed manifold complications and nu- 
merous deficiencies/' 4 By decision of the 
General Staff, the Army's still more ex- 
haustively detailed plan of 1928 was based 
entirely upon manpower potential, rather 
than upon reasonable procurement capac- 
ity. The result was a schedule of procure- 
ment objectives that the supply services 
considered impossible of attainment. ej 
The special survey of the Army made in 
1929 called attention to several basic de- 
fects. One serious weakness was the failure 
to apply one of the fundamental lessons of 
World War I — that it takes at least a year 
longer to arm men for fighting than to 
mobilize and train them for actual com- 
bat. The survey stated: ". . . it will be 
noted that in all munition phases there is 
a wide gap between the exhaustion of the 
present reserve and the receipt of muni- 
tionjs] from new production." fiS The Ord- 
nance Department could not meet the re- 
quirements of the plan under its budgetary 

K - Anderson MS, Ch. Ill, p. 38, OCMII. The 1921- 
22 plans assumed that the peacetime economic life of 
the nation could carry the load without serious 
derangement. A true industrial mobilization plan 
involves far-reaching controls over national economic 

Introduction to the 1922 Ordnance War Plan, pp. 
6-8, filed in DRB AGO with OO 381 material. 
Unclassified unit plans arc in the National Archives 
OO 381 files. 

Memo, CofOrd for CofS, 9 Sep 24, sub: Test of 
Ord War Plans, OO 370.01/520, NA. 

fi > Anderson MS, Ch. Ill, pp, 40, 45-48, OCMH. 
m Survev of Ord Dept. 20 Sep 29, pp. 28-29, OO 
320/365, NA. 



limitations, and indeed as late as 1930 
execution of the 1924 procurement pro- 
gram was still far behind schedule. 
Nevertheless, the 1928 plan for a four- 
field-army, 4,000,000-man mobilization 
formed the basis of all Ordnance compu- 
tations of requirements right down to 1940. 
It constituted what Maj. Gen. Charles T. 
Harris, one of the key men of the Ord- 
nance Manufacturing Service, called the 
"Position of Readiness Plan." If goals set 
seemed in the thirties too unrealizable to 
achieve with funds that the Department 
dared hope for, at least Ordnance officers 
were ready with detailed estimates of 
quantities of each type of munitions needed 
and a planned procedure for getting 
them. 87 

The over-all Armv and Ordnance mo- 
bilization planning of the twenties, defects 
notwithstanding, marked a great forward 
step simply because it was the first exten- 
sive peacetime planning the United States 
had ever undertaken. It was experimental 
and flexible. The plans, although not con- 
sidered secret in broad outlines, were 
shielded from public view because the War 
Department feared an unfavorable public 
reaction. Probably the chief drawback of 
the top-level planning effort was its super- 
ficial, generalized nature. It failed to en- 
vision the extreme complexity and the 
enormous scale of operations another war 
would entail. 68 

The 1930's saw a pronounced broaden- 
ing of perspective in mobilization plan- 
ning. In part this was brought about by 
the work of the War Policies Commission, 
a body created by the Congress to consider 
how best "to promote peace and to equal- 
ize the burdens and to minimize the profits 
of war." fif) The commission, composed of 
six cabinet officers and eight congressmen, 
made a painstaking survey and submitted 

reports in December 1931 and March 
1932. It pronounced the Army procure- 
ment program excellent and recommended 
Congressional review of the plans every 
two years. The Congress took no action. 70 
While earlier plans had been confined 
to a narrowly interpreted scheme for pro- 
ducing munitions, a plan worked out in 
1930-31 dealt with the problem of over-all 
mobilization of national industry. This 
took a new approach based on the premise 
that Army procurement plans could not 
be made workable unless the entire econ- 
omy of the nation was subject to govern- 
mental controls. 71 A revision in 1933 made 
more explicit provision for these controls 
and for administrative organization. 72 
But in the Ordnance Department the 1933 
plan was not popular because it called for 
equipping a large force faster than Ord- 
nance could possibly effect it, particularly 
in view of the fact that most of the World 
War I stocks of materiel by then were ob- 
solete and approaching uselessness. If 
troops were supplied at the rate at which 
they were called up, the heaviest procure- 
ment load would come in the first few 
months and then taper off — obviously an 
impossible arrangement. A revision of 
1936, primarily important because issued 
jointly by the Army and Navy, took a 
somewhat wider view of the problems of 

'•' (1) Inspection of OCO, 1930. par. 13(c), NA. 
(2) Interv with Gen Harris, 2 Dec 49. The 1928 plan, 
like the versions of the early thirties, followed out Maj. 
Gen. Douglas MacArthur's views. See Hearings, War 
Policies Commission, 13-14 May, 1931, Pt. II, pp. 

ss QMC Historical Study 4, Harold VV. Thatcher, 
Planning for Industrial Mobilization, 1920-1940 (August, 
1943, reprinted 1948), pp. 82. 133-34. 

6; ' Pub Res 98, 71st Cong. 

7 " John D. Mill eft, The Organization and Role of the 
Army Service Forces (Washington, 1954). 

71 (1) Thatcher, op. at., pp. 82-83. (2) Anderson 
MS. Ch. Ill, pp. 52, 54, OCVIH. 

7 - Industrial Mobilization Plan, 1933, p. xi. NA. 



mobilization. 73 In the next two years study 
of British industrial mobilization proce- 
dures produced a series of informing ar- 
ticles in Army Ordnance, 7 ' but public inter- 
est in preparedness remained almost nil. 
The Neutrality Act had become law in 
1935, the Nye Committee investigations 
were pillorying Army officers advocat- 
ing any planning for war, and a series 
of magazine articles and books, under 
suggestive titles such as The Merchants of 
Death, were fanning public hostility to such 
measures. The Congress before 1938 
made no move to legislate for industrial 

The Protective Mobilization Plan 

In spite of public opposition to any 
preparations for war, in 1937 the Protec- 
tive Mobilization Plan was born. The 
1938 annual report of the Secretary of 
War, Harry H. Woodring, describes its 

During my tenure of office as Assistant 
Secretary of War from 1933 to 1936 I became 
convinced that the then current War Depart- 
ment plan for mobilization in the event of 
major emergency ■ contained discrepancies 
between the programs for procurement of 
personnel and procurement of supplies which 
were so incompatible that the plan would 
prove ineffective in war time. ... It became 
evident to me that the War Department 
mobilization plan then current was gravely 
defective in that supplies required during the 
first months of a major war could not be pro- 
cured from industry in sufficient quantities 
to meet the requirements of the mobilization 
program. . . . My conviction of the inade- 
quacy of the initial plan from the supply 
procurement standpoint was so strong that 
one of the first directives issued by me as Sec- 
retary of War was that the General Staff 
restudy the whole intricate problem of emer- 
gency mobilization with a view to complete 
replacement of the then current War Depart- 

ment mobilization plan. . . . The result of 
that study is now found in what we term the 
protective mobilization plan of 1937. The 
1937 plan has not been perfected; details re- 
main to be worked out and are being worked 
out thoroughly and diligently. But we have 
every reason to believe that the protective 
mobilization plan is feasible and will meet 
our national defense requirements.'" 

The name Protective Mobilization Plan, 
usually abbreviated to PMP, was designed 
to reassure the average American. The 
plan underwent steady amplification and 
refinement for the next two years. 7 " Unlike 
its forerunners, it set only attainable goals 
for the Ordnance Department. It called 
for an Initial Protective Force of 400,000 
men within three months after mobiliza- 
tion, far fewer than demanded in earlier 
plans; eight months after M Day, 800,000 
men were to be ready for combat, and in 
one year, 1,000,000 men. The maximum- 
size Army envisioned was 3,750,000 men. 
Ordnance leaders felt reasonably confi- 
dent that the Department could equip the 
new quotas on time. 77 

From mid-1937 on, Ordnance plans in 
large part revolved around the PMP. End- 
less computations and recomputations 
were requested by the Secretary of War, 

7! (1) Millett, op. cit.. pp. 17. 77. (2) Thatcher, op. 
at., p. 231. 

■"Maj. L. A. Godd, "Preparedness in England," 
Army Ordnance, XVIII, 105 (1937), 143-46: 106 (1938), 
210 13; 107 (1938). 285-88; 108 (1938), 347-50. 

In 1936 the Assistant Secretary of War called for a 
survey of mobilization plans of several of the Great 
Powers. (1) Ltr to ACofS G-2, 29 Aug 38, OO 
32 1.12/4279, NA. (2) Ltr, CofOrd thru ACofS G-2, 
29 May [?] 36, directed that the same questions asked 
the French be given to the British. The directive for 
the survey is in letter from ASW in 1936. OO 
381/17061 Misc, NA. 

7r > AnnRpt SW. 1938, p. 1. 

7,i Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 17 Jul 39, sub: Chief of 
Ordnance PMP, 1939, OO 381/25782, NA. 

77 Maj. Gen. Charles M. Wesson, The Operations 
of the Ordnance Department, lecture, Army War 
College, 16 Nov 39, p. 18. 



the Assistant Secretary of War, and the 
General Staff. 78 Calculation of war re- 
serves, for example, in August 1937 re- 
sulted in scheduling expenditures of funds 
by priorities up to $50,000,000.™ When 
the worsening international situation led 
President Roosevelt in October 1938 to 
confer with his top military advisers on 
stepping up defense expenditures, the 
Deputy Chief of Staff asked the Chief of 
Ordnance to prepare a program to plug 
the biggest holes in Ordnance supply. 
Twenty-four hours later General Wesson 
turned in an estimate of $ 1 25 ,000.000. an 
amount that would "supply the deficien- 
cies in essential equipment required for 
the Initial Protective Force." Only the ex- 
istence of plans already well worked out 
under the PMP enabled the Department 
to complete a tabulation so speedily. One 
day later, 21 October, following a tele- 
phone conversation with G-4, General 
Wesson submitted a supplemental plan 
calling for $349,000,000 to meet the addi- 
tional requirements for the PMP as a 
whole, in contrast to coverage of the Ini- 
tial Protective Force only. 80 A conviction 
that the White House mood favored a 
bold program, plus the readiness of the 
Department's plans, help explain this 
move. Actually the translation of such a 
program into action had to wait many 
months till more decisive events abroad 
crystallized American public opinion in 
favor of large expenditures for arms. 

Just before the outbreak of war in Eu- 
rope, the Office of the Assistant Secretary 
of War requested the Chief of Ordnance to 
provide in forty-eight hours a detailed out- 
line of Ordnance action in case of war in 
Europe. The reply listed funds needed 
under three headings: those to equip com- 
pletely the forces under PMP, those for 
PMP requirements with augmentation for 
one year, and those for PMP requirements 

with augmentation for two years. 81 Soon 
after, the Ordnance Department esti- 
mated the cost of the munitions procure- 
ment program under PMP augmented for 
two years to be $6,076,750,000 and de- 
clared that its computations were up to 
date for all items under PMP. 82 

The Ordnance sections of PMP were 
thus subjected to careful revision over a 
period of more than two years. The 132- 
page document, which became effective 
30 November 1939, was entitled "Ord- 
nance Protective Mobilization Plan, 
1939." 83 Ordnance corps areas and field 
installations prepared their individual 
plans. All these were the bases upon which 
the Department built its program of prep- 
aration for war. 

Procurement Planning 

Procurement planning, the step that fol- 
lowed over-all industrial mobilization 
planning, was mapped out in the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, but the arsenals and 

7S Typical examples are: (1) ltr, ACofS G-4 to all 
chiefs, 14 May 37. and (2) follow-up ltr, 18 Aug, both 
in AG 301.4 l'5-14-371-G-4 13765-103, DRB AGO. 

■>'■> Ibid. 

(1) Memo, CofOrd for CofS, 20 Oct 38, sub: Defi- 
ciencies in Ord Equipment, and incl, OO 1 1 1 .3/6877. 
(2) Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 21 Oct 38, sub: 
Deficiencies in Ord Equipment for PMP. and incl, 
OO 1 1 1.3/6378. (3) By December 1938 General 
Wesson was talking in terms of a $420,000,000 pro- 
gram, Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 19 Dec 38, sub: 
Breakdown of PMP Requirements into Increments, 
OO 111.3/6916. All in NA. 

sl Min, Wesson Conferences, 19 and 21 Aug 39, 
OHF. The report went to President Roosevelt for 

'-Memo, CofOrd for Dir of Planning Br, OASW, 
8 Sep 39, sub: Measures to be Taken by War Depart- 
ment in the Event of War in Europe, OO 381/27496 
Misc, NA. 

" The PMP as printed for "public sale at ten cents a 
copy under the title Protective Mobilization Plan, Revision 
of 1939 was a slim document of only eighteen pages. 
The appendices were omitted, both because of their 
confidential nature and because of the need for con- 
stant revision. 



the Ordnance districts supplied the data. 
The districts were re-established in 1922 
for the express purpose of keeping contacts 
the country over with industrial concerns 
that might one day serve as sources of sup- 
ply. A group of Ordnance officers had 
already evolved a careful scheme of proce- 
dures upon which district operations there- 
after were based. 84 While orders for mate- 
riel down into the late 1930's were scarcely 
enough to keep the government arsenals in 
operation, and contracts with commercial 
producers were rarely negotiated, every 
district office had the job of determining its 
area's industrial potential for manufacture 
of each type of ordnance item. Analysis of 
this information from all the districts per- 
mitted the Manufacturing Division in 
Washington to allocate particular items to 
particular districts. Thereupon the district 
staffs made plant surveys. A complete sur- 
vey called for a large amount of detailed 

. . . the location, construction, and equip- 
ment of the plant; the availability of power, 
materials, and labor; the examination of the 
manufacturing processes involved to deter- 
mine the readiness with which the facility 
can adapt itself to the proposed task of man- 
ufacture, and the extent to which variations 
from the Ordnance prescribed routine may 
be permitted; the new equipment and new 
construction which will be needed for con- 
version, the sources from which this equip- 
ment and the construction material must 
come, and the time within which they can 
be secured. 85 

With staffs of only three or four people 
through most of the peace years, district 
offices could not undertake any such 
thorough job. The partial surveys first 
completed merely produced lists of com- 
panies arranged according to the type of 
ordnance they were capable of manufac- 
turing. The early industrial mobilization 
records in one district consisted of a few 

reference cards filed in shoe boxes. During 
the depression, economy necessitated 
abandoning even the yearly meetings of 
district chiefs. These were resumed in 
1935. Over the years some districts suc- 
ceeded better than others in keeping in- 
terest in planning alive, for some were 
able to enlist the co-operation of a greater 
number of Reserve officers. In this the 
New York District was particularly suc- 
cessful; every winter from 1923 on a group 
of Reserve officers met once a week with 
the district officials to discuss district prob- 
lems, to hear lectures on Ordnance devel- 
opments, and occasionally to rehearse the 
steps in negotiating contracts. Where dis- 
trict officers had less help of this sort, 
keeping in readiness the machinery for 
large-scale procurement was more diffi- 
cult, but all districts maintained some 
activity. 815 

In spite of meagre budgets and limited 
personnel, the districts succeeded from 
time to time in obtaining from manufac- 
turers gentlemen's agreements, known as 
Accepted Schedules of Production, which 
specified quantities and rates of future war 
production. Upon request, the Assistant 
Secretary of War then allocated their 
plants to Ordnance. This arrangement 
was designed to eliminate competition 
among the Army and Navy supply services 
for particular facilities. By 1937 the dis- 
tricts had in hand some 2,500 accepted 
schedules representing 645 different com- 
mercial facilities. When any company had 
thus pledged itself to ordnance manufac- 

s 4 The three men primarily responsible for this first 
planning were Major Harris, Maj. Richard H. Somcrs, 
and Capt. Edward E. MacMorland. 

" Hist of Pittsburgh Ord Dist 66, OHF. 

M! (1) The Ordnance District System, Its Growth 
and Development, January 1918-June 1945, prepared 
under the direction of Brig. Gen. A. B. Quinton, Jr., 
p. 6, OHF. (2) Chester Mueller. The New York Ordnance 
District in World War II ( New York, 1947), pp. 8-10. 



ture in case of emergency, the district 
executive assistant worked out with the 
management fairly detailed production 
plans — plant layouts, machine tool re- 
quirements, gages, raw materials, power 
and manpower needs to convert rapidly to 
manufacture of the unfamiliar Ordnance 
item. The government arsenals' blueprints 
and data on production methods were 
always available for this purpose. Ord- 
nance officers regarded these as manu- 
facturing aids, not mandatory instruc- 
tions. 37 In view of public apathy and 
industrialists' reluctance to be involved in 
government munitions making, it is hard 
to see what more the Ordnance Depart- 
ment could have done in these years 
toward planning procurement from private 

Special mention must be made of the 
machine tool surveys. Though neither the 
Ordnance districts nor the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, conducted these alone, their 
participation was of importance. The 
over-all studies were the responsibility of 
the Assistant Secretary of War; the Army 
and Navy Munitions Board also played a 
part. The urgency of having an adequate 
supply of machine tools suitable for muni- 
tions manufacture was well understood, 
but the problems involved were as com- 
plex as they were vital. The industry was 
always relatively small and except in 
boom periods operated below capacity. 
From the mid-thirties on, through a spe- 
cial committee of the National Machine 
Tool Builders Association, the industry co- 
operated with the government in an effort 
to forestall the shortages a national emer- 
gency might bring. The questions were: 
What did the armed forces require? and 
then, Gould the industry meet the re- 
quirements? ss In a computation of Army 
machine-tool requirements prepared in 
1937, the needs of the Ordnance Depart- 

ment comprised a big percentage of the 
total. Out of 20,613 lathes needed for the 
whole Army, Ordnance required 16,220. 8M 
In spite of efforts to anticipate these needs, 
1939 and 1940 found machine-tool supply 
the principal bottleneck in the rearma- 
ment program. Indeed, to stretch the sup- 
ply early in 1940 it became necessary to 
resurrect obsolete or incomplete machine 
tools from arsenal storehouses. 90 

In 1938 conditions in Europe brought 
an upward turn in district activities. In 
every district Army inspectors were ap- 
pointed to inspect items under current 
commercial procurement, a scheme that 
was later of great help because it provided 
a nucleus of trained inspectors qualified to 
train others when war came. Col. A. B. 
Quinton, Jr., Chief of the District Control 
Division, was directed to conduct more ex- 
tensive industrial surveys and, as soon as 
funds were available, to enlarge the dis- 
trict organizations/" Louis Johnson, As- 
sistant Secretary of War, in December 
1938 at a conference of district chiefs, 
urged them to bring their surveys up to 

s7 (1) Campbell, Industry-Ordnance Team, p. 20. (2) 
Ann Rpt CofOrd, 193 7, par. 10. Post- World War II 
comments of some industrialists have implied thai the 
Ordnance Department expected to show industry how 
to manufacture what private industry unguided could 
produce most efficiently without military interference. 
The Ordnance Department, on the other hand, con- 
tends that it offered help only where help was needed. 

ss Progress Report on Machine Tool Plan. 20 Jun 
39. pp. 2-4. Exhibits, C, D, E, F, G, OO 381/26423 
ASW. XA. Early in 1930 the Tool Builder's Associa- 
tion sent a questionnaire to all machine-tool builders 
to be returned directly to the AN MB. 

S!l (1) Rpt cited n. 88, Exhibits O and D. (2) Ltr. 
OASW to all Supply Arms and Services, 1 Oct 36, 
sub: Planning for Procurement of Machine Tools, OO 
381/26423 ASW. NA. 

"" (1) Ltr, B. A. Franklin, Hartford Dist Chief, to 
CofOrd, 19 Jun 39, OO 381/26757 Hartford, NA. 
(2) Ltr. CofOrd to Hartford Ord Dist. 7 Mar 40, and 
1st Ind, 3 Apr 40. OO 381/33149 Hartford, DRB 
AGO. (3) Ord Digest. Mar 40, Minton file, OHF. 

(1) Hist of Boston Ord Dist. p. 40, OHF. (2) Ann 
Rpt CofOrd, 1938. par. 10. 



date so that "you are familiar with every toward industrial mobilization. The funds 
potential war-producing facility in your voted were not large, but Congressional 
District." 92 The money was appropriated appropriation of any money at all for this 
early in 1939. Accordingly, as soon as pro- purpose three and a half years before Pearl 
curement planning engineers, more in- Harbor was a minor triumph, and by 
spectors, and more clerks could be hired, 1941 proved to be of significance, 
district office personnel increased. The The Ordnance Department's campaign 
Pittsburgh District, which in 1930 had for permission to place orders with private 
had only tvvo full-time workers, by mid- industrial firms to give them experience in 
1939 had twenty-three; Philadelphia munitions manufacture had stretched over 
jumped to fifty-one. Even teletype systems more than twenty years. 95 An abortive ef- 
were installed that summer. To prepare fort before World War I preceded a series 
for the "accelerated Procurement Plan- of attempts in the 1920's to obtain such 
ning Program" every district submitted legislation. In 1922 Secretary of War 
lists of machine-tool shortages. 93 Weeks had advocated it, as did his succes- 
That this work was effective is proven sor, Dwight Davis. General Williams in 
by the report made by the Chief of Indus- 1925 had suggested to the Assistant Secre- 
trial Service a few days before war broke tary of War that educational orders be em- 
out in Europe. On 29 August 1939 Gen- ployed as an instrument to speed up 
eral Harris stated that out of 133 orders progress on each item of the new ten-year 
placed under the $50,000,000 procure- Ordnance program and, to back up this 
ment program for 1939, 50 were com- idea, attached the text of a proposed law. 9U 
pleted, 70 were on schedule, and only 13 One of the main purposes of the ten-year 
were delayed because of hold ups on de- program was to set up facilities for manu- 
liveries of forgings. Whereas on 1 January, facture of the new materiel so that in event 
1 19 orders had been waiting for drawings, of war long delays would be avoided, 
only 44 were now wanting detailed blue- Without authorization to place educa- 
prints, and of a January backlog of 319 tional orders with suitable firms — and not 
orders deficient in specifications, only 90 necessarily with those submitting the low- 
remained. By May 1940, on the 1 940 pro- est bids — only the government arsenals 
gram 870 contracts for materiel totaling with their limited capacity would be ready 
over 366,000,000 had been placed with in emergency. In 1926 Guy E. Tripp, 
commercial firms, and procurement of Chairman of the Westinghouse Company, 
raw materials and parts at the government as head of a national committee on indus- 
arsenals amounted to $29, 000, 000. 94 trial preparedness, brought in a compre- 

Educationat Orders: The First Step 
in Industrial Mobilization 

Meanwhile, on 16 June 1938, nearly 
eighteen months before the appearance of 
the "Ordnance Protective Mobilization 
Plan, 1939," the Educational Orders Act 
became law. This enabled the Ordnance 
Department to make its first definite move 

!>z Campbell, op. at., p. 21. 

<"> (1) Hist of Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, 17, OHF. (2) 
Hist of Philadelphia Ord Dist, Vol. I, Pt. I, p. 2, OHF. 
(3) Ord Digest, ful 34. Aug 39, Folder EducationaL 
Orders, OHF. 

'"' (1) Min, Wesson Conference, 29 Aug 39, OHF. 
(2) Memo, CofOrd for Stat Br. OASW, 15 May 40, 
sub: Weekly Report of Ordnance Procurement and 
Production as of May 11, 1940. OO 400.12/5904, NA. 

fl5 See n. 24, p. 2 1, above. 

Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 1 1 Nov 25, sub: Ten- 
Year Program, OO 400. 11/35, NA. 



hensive report vigorously recommending 
legislation for educational orders, but a 
bill introduced in Congress the next year 
and reintroduced in 1929 failed to pass. 97 
A new bill in 1933, proposing expenditure 
of $2,000,000 yearly for five years, was 
pigeonholed without debate, although ad- 
vocates in the worst period of the depres- 
sion pointed out that educational orders 
would help "prime the industrial pump." 
Yet the second recovery appropriation act 
specifically banned "munitions." Further- 
more, the opprobrium attached to the 
term munitions maker before 1937 led 
most industrialists to avoid any risk of es- 
tranging public good will, especially since 
probable profits looked slim. 98 Hence 
enactment of legislation for educational 
orders in June 1938 marked a consider- 
able victory. 

The act of June 1938 authorized the 
Secretary of War to place educational or- 
ders with commercial firms to familiarize 
them with the techniques of manufactur- 
ing "munitions of war of special or techni- 
cal design . . . non-commercial in char- 
acter." He was to solicit bids only from 
firms that from their records appeared 
competent to handle large wartime con- 
tracts for the items bid on. This meant 
elimination of the usual competitive bid- 
ding. As a check upon the Secretary's 
judgment, every contract had to have the 
approval of the President. No concern 
could receive more than one order within 
any three consecutive years. To carry out 
the provisions the Congress appropriated 
$2,000,000." Seven months later, in the 
famous defense message of 12 January 
1939, President Roosevelt called for $32,- 
500,000 more in educational orders, and 
$1,762,000 for both procurement plan- 
ning and production orders. An act of 3 
April 1939 authorized $32,500,000 to be 
available until 30 June 1941, and $2,000,- 

000 in each of the four ensuing years. It 
also authorized funds for purchase of pro- 
duction studies and provided for storage 
of the special aids to manufacture — gages, 
jigs, dies, and the like — which became 
government property. 100 At the last min- 
ute the Congress appropriated an addi- 
tional $14,250,000 for 1940. Thus in real- 
ity a seven-year program was mapped out. 

A special board of officers met in the 
summer of 1938 to define specific objec- 
tives and work out procedures. They drew 
up a list of fifty-five critical items, and se- 
lected six for orders in 1939: recoil mecha- 
nisms for the 3-inch antiaircraft gun, semi- 
automatic rifles, forging 75-mm. shells, 
machining 75-mm. shells, searchlights, and 
gas masks. Four of these six were Ord- 
nance items; aircraft materiel was ex- 
cluded because a growing number of mili- 
tary orders from foreign countries obvi- 
ated the need of American orders. Ord- 
nance's allotment for 1939 amounted to 
$1,600,000; for 1940, $8,800,000. In the 
first year four educational orders were 
placed: 101 

Winchester Repeating 

Arms Co. (New Haven) 
R. Hoe & Go. 

(New York) 
S. A. Woods Co. 

American Forge Co. 


In retrospect, question might arise as to 
why, in view of Springfield Armory's ac- 

!j; The Secretary of War in urging Congressional 
action cited the new types of guns and gun carriages 
and rifle ammunition as categories for which educa- 
tional orders would be most valuable. Ltr, SW to 
Chairman of House Military Affairs Committee. 24 
Sep 27, OO 400.1 1/104, NA. 

9B Wesson lecture cited ln. 771 above, pp. 11-12. 

»" PL 639, Ch. 458, 75th Cong, 3d Sess, HR 6246. 

">« See memo, ASW for CofOrd, 25 Oct 39, sub: 
Procurement Planning, O O 38 


Rifle Ml, 
Cal. .30 

3" AA recoil 

Machining 75- 
mm. shell 

Forging 75- 
mm. shell 


1 1 0,000 



Wesson lecture cited n. 77 

.28767 Misc, NA. 
p. 12. 



tual and large future potential produc- 
tion, the Ml rifle was chosen for an edu- 
cational order when the shortage of me- 
dium and heavy artillery was so great. 102 
The justification was that Winchester's 
added capacity was essential to speed 
achievement of the PMP requirement of 
149,000 Ml rifles for the Initial Protective 
Force. The Infantry listed the semiauto- 
matic rifle as priority "1" in the rearma- 
ment program. 103 

The program started off auspiciously. 
To ensure careful check on progress, Louis 
Johnson on 15 July 1939 appointed a com- 
mittee on Review of the Program of Edu- 
cational Orders, headed by Brig. Gen. 
Benedict Crowell. Ten other eminent in- 
dustrialists, including William S. Knud- 
sen, President of General Motors Corpora- 
tion, and J. L. Perry, President of Car- 
negie Illinois Steel Company, also served. 
Their report, submitted early in August, 
commended the previous handling of edu- 
cational orders and made recommenda- 
tions for future procedures. 104 In the 
course of the next ten months seventy-six 
additional educational orders were placed, 
most of them for ammunition items. While 
the question arose as to whether and when 
these should be converted to production or- 
ders, the decision in September was to con- 
tinue the program as it was "on the prem- 
ise of educating more firms and in some 
instances providing complete rather than 
partial tooling." 105 After February 1940 
a number of contracts for production 
studies were inaugurated. These studies, 
though not so useful ultimately as educa- 
tional orders, had the advantage of requir- 
ing less time to complete and therefore 
enabled a larger number of manufac- 
turers in diverse fields to study the prob- 
lems of making Ordnance materiel than 
were willing at this time to accept educa- 
tional orders. ' 06 

Field Service 

However much budgetary limitations 
cut the operations of the Manufacturing 
Service before 1939 and curtailed plan- 
ning and research, economy itself de- 
manded that the materiel accumulated 
during World War I be preserved in usa- 
ble condition. Consequently, money for 
storage and maintenance depots was 
always forthcoming, although Field Serv- 
ice, the unit responsible, like the other di- 
visions of the Ordnance Department, 
never had enough. 

After the signing of the Armistice in No- 
vember 1918, the newly created Field 
Service faced peculiarly urgent problems. 
The sudden collapse of the enemy put 
upon Field Service the obligation of taking 
immediate measures to deal with the im- 
mense stores of arms, ammunition, and 
other ordnance materiel piled high in 
American factories and depots, on trains, 
docks, and ships, and in supply depots in 
France. Of the persistent and significant 
problems Field Service encountered in the 

""Springfield Armory produced 3,519,471 Ml 
rifles by the end of the war, Winchester only 513,880. 
See Hist of Springfield Armory, Vol. II, Book 2, Ch. 
VI, p. 10, OHF. 

un (1) See Pt. I, Annex 7, PMP, 1 Jan 38, and OO 
472.41/1749, NA, for 1936 requirements of 148,832 
rifles. (2) Ltr, Coflnf to CofOrd, 9 Mar 39, sub: 
Rearmament and Reequipment Program, FY 1941, 
OO 1 1 3. 3/7023, NA. 

1,14 See text of report in Army Ordnance, XX, 117 
(1939), 167-68. Working in close co-operation was the 
Army board on educational orders which, under the 
chairmanship of General Harris, had the chief voice 
in selection of items for orders. Memo, TAG thru 
Col'Ordfor Gen Harris, 15 Mar 39, OO 381/24300, 

10r > (1) Memo, Gen Harris for Dist Planning Bd, 
OASW, 8 Sep 39, sub: Measures to be Taken by the 
WD in the Event of War in Europe, OO 381/27496 
Misc, NA. (2) Memo, CofOrd for ASW, 20 Sep 39, 
sub: Readiness of the OD to Meet the Requirements 
of a Major Emergency, OO 381/278000 ASW, NA. 

11)15 Ord Digest, Mar-May 40, Folder, Educational 
Orders, OHF. 



years between world wars, none had 
greater importance for the future than 
provision of storage facilities for both am- 
munition and general supplies. Solution 
of the problem involved immediate tem- 
porary disposition of the large, scattered 
stocks, determination of a long-range 
peacetime policy, and finally, plans and 
facilities for storing the greatly increased 
stocks needed in a future emergency. 

The first step was of necessity accom- 
plished quickly. From mid- 19 19 to mid- 
1920 the Supply Division of Field Service 
increased its storage space from about 
3,500,000 to 8,700,000 square feet, a total 
that did not include space in general 
Army storage depots, posts, cantonments, 
and camps. In these twelve months the Di- 
vision received and stored some 1 ,000,000 
rifles, 58,000 automatic rifles, 1 18,000 ma- 
chine guns, 1,500 37-mm. guns, 1 1 ,000 
guns and howitzers, and 12,000 automo- 
tive vehicles, trailers, and accessories. 
Most of this materiel went into storage at 
Rock Island, the rest at Aberdeen, Erie, 
Savanna, Middletown, San Antonio, Fort 
Bliss in Texas, and Augusta. Before storage 
every item needed overhaul, cleaning, and 
reconditioning. A small sampling of the 
task of the Maintenance Division shows by 
midsummer of 1920 overhaul of 3,099 75- 
mm. guns, 2,567 155-mm, howitzers, 
1,849 10-ton tractors, 826 6-ton tanks, 
2,216,448 .30-caliber rifles, 25,604 Brown- 
ing machine guns, and 140,814 automatic 
pistols. And these items were only a frac- 
tion of 119 types of artillery and small 
arms handled. 107 

Some ammunition was left for a brief 
time in manufacturing plants, but factory 
owners soon demanded the space for their 
reconversion operations. A less temporary 
expedient lay in using the ammunition de- 
pots built as forwarding points during the 

war. On the problem of long-range stra- 
tegic storage, the Department made a 
special study which the Secretary of War 
approved 29 August 1919. The plan pro- 
vided that about one fourth of the ammu- 
nition be stored at five permanent depots 
already built in the East, and the remain- 
der at new facilities near Ogden in Utah, 
Sparta in Wisconsin, and Savanna. The 
second deficiency bill of 6 March 1920 al- 
lotted $5,000,000 for part of this construc- 
tion program. Like general supplies, am- 
munition required thorough inspection 
and repacking before storing. This job oc- 
cupied depot personnel all through 1919 
and 1920. 11,8 

Another important storage problem was 
the preservation of jigs, gages, and dies. 
The munitions plants shipped these items 
to Springfield Armory for verification and 
storage. Since about 125,000 gages were 
processed, the task ran well into 1921. 109 

Meanwhile an Ordnance Salvage 
Board, created on 19 November 1918, was 
engaged in disposing of all government- 
owned surplus manufacturing equipment, 
materials, and buildings. Wherever possi- 
ble the work was decentralized through 
the^salvage boards of Ordnance districts. 
By 30 June 1920 the board had disposed of 
materials valued at $174,000,000 and 
property at $84,000,000. The disposal 
work underwent careful scrutiny by House 
of Representatives committees, inasmuch 
as the project was costly, with some 3,500 
civilian workers on the staff at one time. 
The Congress permitted continuation of 
the organization for several years, but on a 
steadily contracting scale. Sales in the fis- 

ln; Ann Rpt Col'Ord, 1920, pp. 40-42, 45-46. 
""(I) Ibid., pp. 42-44. (2) Ann Rpt SW . 1921, 
p. 171. 

,n " Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1920, p. 37. 



cal year 1922 netted only about $15,000,- 
000 and the next year slightly less. 110 

By June 1922 a comprehensive Ord- 
nance munitions policy was established. 
It decreed the rapid sale of surplus ammu- 
nition; abandonment of temporary stor- 
age places and removal of reserve ammu- 
nition to permanent depots; halting of all 
expenditures at temporary installations 
and the least possible investment at per- 
manent ones; reduction of nitrates re- 
serves; and retention of only a limited 
number of experts at each arsenal. ' 1 1 To 
reduce overhead the Department had dis- 
posed of two wartime depots in 1919, 
Sandy Hook and Tobyhanna, and in 1922 
dispensed with Mays Landing and nine 
temporary depots: Amatol, Middletown, 
Morgan, Penniman, Seven Pines, Sparta, 
Toledo, Tullytown, and Woodbury. The 
materiel stored in these went to other de- 
pots or to salvage. n - 

After the readjustments of the immedi- 
ate postwar years, depot activities sub- 
sided for more than a decade. Ogden Ar- 
senal, for instance, reverted to an inactive, 
caretaker status. From 1926 to 1935 a ser- 
geant commanded the post, and usually 
only one other sergeant was on duty. Part 
of the magazine and the lower area were 
leased for grazing. 113 Other depots carried 
on the routine duties of maintenance and 
renovation of materiel, surveillance, pro- 
tection, supply of troops for occasional 
maneuvers, and keeping stock records of 
issue and shipment. Administration of the 
depots was competent. Inspectors from 
The Inspector General's Department in 
the peacetime years usually directed criti- 
cism only at the run-down physical condi- 
tion of facilities. At Wingate Depot, for 
example, the old wooden magazines of- 
fered a serious fire hazard in a region 
noted for electrical storms, and personnel 

was too limited to guard the magazines. 
At Curtis Bay Depot, on the other hand, 
physical facilities were in excellent shape. 
At Raritan Arsenal, while administration 
of both the Field Service School and main- 
tenance and storage activities was pro- 
nounced efficient, the inspector noted that 
fifty-four temporary buildings unfit for 
habitation were still in use and that many 
of the tools and equipment used in World 
War I were obsolete. 114 

Curtailed appropriations during the de- 
pression limited operations both at depots 
and at arsenals, but the threatened reduc- 
tion to stand-by status was obviated by use 
of federal relief funds. llfl The relief funds 
for individual depots assumed sizable pro- 
portions. In the fiscal year 1938 Augusta 
Arsenal received $106,354; Delaware 
Ordnance Depot, $133,011; Savanna, 
$20,959; and Ogden $32 1 ,477. The money 
was spent on such work as improving 
roads, railroad tracks, barracks, and offi- 
cers' quarters, and for constructing load- 
ing plants and magazines. 116 

""(I) Ibid., 1920, pp. 56-60; 1922, p. 10; 1923, 
p. 21. (2) WDAB 1921. HR. pp. 53 3-34. 540. Large 
amounts of surplus property were transferred to other 
government departments, for example, 341,650,656.32 
in 1922-23. 

(1) Memo. CofOrdfor all Ord Offs, 14Jun 22, 
sub: Ordnance Department Policies, OO 023/1549, 
NA. (2) Memo, GofOrd for General Pershing, 6 Jan 
22, sub: Recommendations as to a Munitions Policy. 
OO 023/1553, NA. 

(1) Hist of FS Exec Div, 1919 to 30 June 39, I, 8, 
OHF. (2) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1923, pp. 17-18. 

Hist of Ogden Arsenal, Vol. I, Pt. 1, p. 12, OHF. 

" 1 ft) Rpt to CG 8th Corps Area. 9 May 35, sub: 
Inspection of Wingate Ord Depot, OO 333.1/4237 
IG. (2) Rpt to TIG, 15 Aug 35. sub: Ann General 
Inspection of Curtis Bay Ord Depot, OO 333.1/4336 
IG. ( 3) Rpt to TIG, sub: Ann Inspection of Raritan 
Arsenal and Ord Field Service School, 8 May 36, OO 
333.1/4522 IG. All in NA. 

'"' (1) WDAB 1935, HR, pp. 262-63. Watervliet, 
for example, operated on a skeleton basis during the 
period 1 932-34. (2) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1934, par. 7 Iff. 
See also Hist of Watervliet Arsenal, p. 106, OIIF. 

"" Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1938, par. 102. 



Ammunition storage and maintenance 
caused the most trouble during these years. 
More money than for any other one pur- 
pose was earmarked for maintenance of 
the War Reserve; and of the total sum, an- 
nually about three fifths was for preserva- 
tion of ammunition. To maintain a usable 
War Reserve, periodic surveillance of 
stocks was necessary, a careful testing of 
representative lots to detect incipient de- 
terioration; lots that were no longer good 
must be renovated or replaced. In 1926 
Public Law 318 authorized exchange of 
deteriorated ammunition for new, but 
adequate funds for renovation continued 
to be hard to get from congressmen who, 
despite the yearly attempts of Ordnance 
Department spokesmen to explain the 
chemistry of ammunition deterioration, 
found the argument unconvincing. 117 A 
special program of surveillance and reno- 
vation was started in 1928, when the De- 
partment not only exchanged some 4,000,- 
000 pounds of unserviceable powder for 
360,000 pounds of new fiashless, nonhy- 
groscopic powder, but also opened its first 
special renovation plants. By 1931 the 
Charleston, Nansemond, Delaware, Rari- 
tan, and Hawaiian depots were operating 
renovating plants on 75-mm. shell, Curtis 
Bay on 75-mm. shrapnel, and Savanna on 
155-mm. shell. 118 W r hile the 1929 Army 
survey and the 1930 inspections of Ord- 
nance depots showed that storage depots 
contained seriously deteriorated stock "far 
in excess of quantities which [could] be 
properly maintained with available main- 
tenance funds," 119 by 1933 the Depart- 
ment was able to draw upon public works 
funds for some of its renovation work. 120 
Surveillance inspectors, trained in the use 
of new as well as old techniques of testing, 
functioned at various depots and the ab- 
sence of any great conflagrations and ex- 

plosions at Ordnance depots in these years 
indicates the success of their work. The 
only heavy loss was caused by a great 
wind, hail, and rainstorm at Ogden in June 
1929 where thirty of the thirty-five maga- 
zines were destroyed at an estimated loss 
of more than $781,000. 121 

Yet up to the outbreak of World War II, 
the question was ever recurring whether it 
was better to renovate old stocks than to 
buy all new ammunition. The Ammuni- 
tion Supply Division of Field Service esti- 
mated in October 1938 that it would cost 
$19,373,734 to renovate the ammunition 
items required to meet the war reserve for 
the Initial Protective Force. 122 But when 
careful study showed that renovation 
would cost only one fourth as much as new 
ammunition, the Chief of Ordnance and 
his aides concluded that renovated artil- 
lery ammunition would provide "the best 
means of having immediately available a 
reasonable supply of ammunition." 123 
Large sums were earmarked for renovation 
work at depots; by the summer of 1939 
some $10,000,000 was available for a two- 
year program. 124 

Issue of ammunition for troop training 

1,7 (1) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1925, pp. 5-6, .13 -1-14; 1930, 
par. 61.(2) Hist of FS Exec Div, 1919-30 June 1939, 
1, pp. 4-5, OHF. (3) WDAB 1927, HR, pp. 272-78; 
192R, HR, pp. 406-408; 1936, HR, pp. 326-27; 1938, 
HR, pp. 341-45; 1938, S, pp. 94-95; 1939, IIR, pp. 
363. 370. 

" s Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1928, pars. 155, 156; 1931, 
par. 17. 

""(1) Inspection of OD, 1930, p. 20, OO 
333.1/2870, NA. (2) Survey of WD, 1929, p. 20, NA. 

! -° Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1934, Sec. 4, War Reserves, 
par. 12 (2)b. 

121 (1) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1928, par. 159; 1931, par. 
17c; 1935, par. 13c. (2) For further details, see corre- 
spondence in OO 600.913/2611-2638 Ogden, NA. 

'-- IntraofRce memo, Chief of Ammo Supply Div, 
FS, for Chief of Ord War Plans Div, General Office, 
20 Oct 38, Folder 69, WPD General Office files, NA. 

l -< Min, Wesson Conference, 13 Dec 38, OHF. 

121 Ibid., 29 Aug 39. 



was guided by the War Department's pay- 
as-you-go policy. Under this plan allow- 
ances were fitted to the available appropri- 
ations so that the War Reserve would not 
be depleted by use of ammunition for train- 
ing purposes. The Ordnance Department 
made one exception. Because of the rapid 
deterioration of the .30-caliber ball 
ammunition of World War I vintage, great 
quantities of this type were issued "free" to 
get some value out of it before the stock 
became useless. In 1932 alone, $2,339,000 
worth was issued. But in spite of all pre- 
cautions, 1931 found approximately 20 
percent of the World War 1 ammunition 
unusable because of visible defects, and 
some additional spoilage because of pow- 
der decomposition. The replacement pol- 
icy was to order items low in stock in 
quantity, rather than to replace round-for- 
round the types actually fired in training. 
This lowered unit cost. 125 

With the rapid expansion of the Air 
Corps in the 1930's, Field Service faced 
problems of handling, storing, and main- 
taining quantities of specialized materiel 
at regular Ordnance depots and at air 
bases as well. A large Ordnance detach- 
ment was stationed at Langley Field, 
attached to General Headquarters Air 
Force. Its duties were to provide and main- 
tain all ordnance items used by the GHQ_ 
Air Force, operate GHQ Air Force Ord- 
nance depots and distributing points, dis- 
pose of "duds" on ranges, and compile and 
distribute technical information on the use 
and defects of materiel issued to personnel 
of the air arm. The growing shortage of 
Ordnance storage facilities at air bases, the 
specialized demands of the air ammuni- 
tion supply system, and the field assembly 
of demolition bombs made special diffi- 
culties. Thus, for example, development 
and subsequent maintenance of tractors 

and trucks with cranes and trailers for 
loading heavy bombs became an arduous 
task. 126 In 1938 Ogden, Savanna, and 
Delaware Ordnance Depots were named 
the ammunition storage bases for Air 
Corps storage. This meant that funds for 
constructing the necessary igloos could be 
sought under the Wilcox Act. 127 Early in 
1938 Ordnance proposed a $5,000,000 
program for construction of additional 
igloos for air ammunition storage at the 
three depots, a plan that received support 
from the General Staff. 128 Subsequently 
the Congress voted money for this purpose. 

Meanwhile the whole question of loca- 
tion of munitions plants and storage depots 
had been subject to some study. Increas- 
ingly aware of the dangers of air attack, 
several groups in the War Department had 
urged adoption of a definite policy that 
would determine the choice of sites for new 
manufacturing facilities and additional 
storage depots. When a War Department 
policy statement appeared in February 
1936, it was confined to recommendations 
on sites for storage depots only. 129 Never- 
theless, at the request of the Assistant Chief 
of Staff, G-4, the Chief of Ordnance 
appointed a board of officers "to prepare a 
secret plan embodying an ideal setup for 

,S| Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1931, par. 17. 

(1) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1938, par. 89J. (2) OCM 
13180, 22 Oct 36. 

'- 7 PL 263, 74th Cong. 

(1) Ltr, CofOrd to WD Budget Off, 21 Jan 38, 
sub: Authorizing Legislation for Additional Ammuni- 
tion Storage Facilities, and incl, OO 1 1 1.3/6623 NA. 
(2) Ltr, CofOrd to TQMG, 2 1 May 38, sub: Construc- 
tion of Additional Ammunition Storage Facilities. OO 
1 1 1.3/6812, NA. 

Public Law 164, approved 3 April 1939, carried an 
item for additional Ordnance storage facilities under 
the aviation expansion program. Acts and Res relating 
to WD, XLVL 462. 

Office, Chief of Ordnance, title: WD Policy Con- 
cerning Sites for New Ordnance Depots, Approved 
Site Board Reports, 1 Dec 44 {hereafter cited as 
Approved Site Bd Rpts), Rpts 1, 3, 5, and 15, OHF. 



Ordnance manufacturing and storage 
facilities in the United States." The study 
projected was to consider five points in 
order of importance: strategic location, 
proximity to strategic raw materials, trans- 
portation facilities to probable theatres of 
war, economy of operation, and climate. 
The report submitted in April 1937 in- 
cluded a map marked "Reasonably Safe 
Area for Arsenals and Depots," upon 
which the western line of safety ran along 
the crest of the Cascades and Sierra 
Nevadas, the eastern line along the Appa- 
lachian ridge. To a number of the board's 
findings, the Chief of Ordnance took ex- 
ception. Regarding storage, he questioned 
the wisdom of abandoning three depots on 
the Atlantic seaboard in spite of the pro- 
posal to erect a new depot in eastern Penn- 
sylvania. 13(> No action was taken. 

As Ordnance appropriations mounted 
in 1938 and 1939, the Department gave 
new attention to storage facilities, but less 
with an eye to safe strategic location than 
to total available cubic footage. As late as 
15 December 1938 an Ordnance Depart- 
ment study confidently reported that there 
was enough unoccupied storage space — 
over 700,000 square feet — to care for all 
needs under the Initial Protective Force 
mobilization; by eliminating obsolete ma- 
teriel, much additional space could be 
released. Beyond construction of a few 
warehouses at Ogden Arsenal, the study 
envisaged little need for more space, even 
under complete PMP mobilization. At 
Ogden 115 igloos and 8 smokeless powder 
magazines had been built between 1935 
and 1939. 131 But soon after, when the Gen- 
eral Staff, evincing new anxiety over the 
exposed location of some Ordnance supply 
depots, requested the Department to pre- 
pare an "integrated plan of Ordnance 

depots," the Chief of Ordnance admitted 
that eventually new construction would be 
necessary. 1 1,2 Though exploration of a stop- 
gap measure of more complete utilization 
of existing facilities revealed considerable 
unused space at several depots such as Erie 
and Curtis Bay, in the Great Salt Lake 
area alone the Department listed as pri- 
mary needs under PMP eight warehouses 
for general supplies, twenty-eight standard 
ammunition magazines, thirty standard 
underground magazines, and four stand- 
ard primer and fuze magazines. 133 Still, 
neither the higher echelons of the War 
Department nor the Ordnance Depart- 
ment in 1939 had a clear conception of the 
dimensions that the storage problem 
would assume in the next two years. The 
Ordnance annex to PMP of November 
1939 merely stated: "Details as to the 
amount of expansion required cannot be 
definitely stated until the stock levels to be 
maintained at the several levels have been 
determined." The plan proposed construc- 
tion at Ogden for both ammunition and 
general supplies, and at Savanna for am- 
munition only. 134 Later events were to 
dwarf the PMP calculations. 

Rpt of Bd of Offs to Prepare a Secret Plan 
Embodying an Ideal Setup for Ord Manufacturing 
and Storage Facilities in U.S., 1 3 Apr 37. and 2d Ind, 
2 May 37, OO 682/1499, NA. 

(1) Memo, Col William E. Larned for Gen 
McFarland, 15 Dec 38, sub: Storage Requirements for 
IPF and the PMP Plan, Folder 69, WPD General 
Office files, NA. (2) Hist of Ogden Arsenal, Vol. I, Pt. 
2, p. 51, OHF. 

"- (1) Approved Site Bd Rpts, Rpt 27. OHF. (2) 
CofOrd for ACofS, G-4, 20 Jan 39, sub: New Con- 
struction Facilities. FY 1940, OO 600. 1/ 1386 1 /., NA. 

, (1) Min, Wesson Conferences, 22 and 23 Jun 39, 
OHF. (2) Ltr. OCO to TAG, 26 Aug 39, sub: Supply 
Facilities under PMP and 1st Ind, OO 381/25469, 

CofOrd, PMP, 1939, No. 42, NA. This edition of 
PMP was dated 30 Nov 39. 


Finances and the Effects of 

Upon the outbreak of war in Europe the 
problems of the War Department became 
more acute. General apprehension solidi- 
fied into clear realization that American 
rearmament was not merely desirable but 
was now necessary. A summary of the 
developments of the twenty-seven months 
when America was not wholly at peace 
but was not acknowledgedly at war should 
serve to illuminate the over-all problems 
that later chapters will explore in some 
detail. The financial story and the begin- 
nings of the foreign aid program can here- 
after be dismissed, since the Ordnance 
Department's work under the Lend-Lease 
Act became part and parcel of its activities 
in behalf of the United States Army, and 
since after Pearl Harbor money ceased to 
be a controlling factor. 

The Period of Limited Emergency 

On 8 September 1939, a week after the 
German armies swept across the border 
into Poland and five days after Great 
Britain and France declared war, Presi- 
dent Roosevelt proclaimed a state of lim- 
ited national emergency and authorized 
the Army to take steps to bring itself up to 
full statutory strength. The greatly en- 
larged War Department appropriations 
voted earlier in the year had already set 

machinery in motion to hasten American 
rearmament. In August, at the President's 
request, the Assistant Secretaries of War 
and Navy had appointed the members to 
the War Resources Board to assist in plan- 
ning industrial mobilization. Early in Sep- 
tember the Ordnance Department had 
ready a $6,300,000,000 over-all plan for 
carrying out its responsibilities under the 
Protective Mobilization Plan augmented 
for two years. The Ordnance Department 
completed an annex to PMP in Novem- 
ber, showing schedules for increased pro- 
duction and tentative plans for additional 
storage space; district officers with con- 
stantly augmented staffs were expanding 
their procurement activities, contracting 
for production studies and new educa- 
tional orders, while the government arse- 
nals hurried through detailed blueprints 
of essential materiel and trained the inspec- 
tors for work in private manufacturing 
plants that were to undertake orders. 

Time for industrial mobilization was of 
particular importance to the Ordnance 
Department because of the peculiar nature 
of ordnance materiel. Much of it was 
heavy, complex, and hard to manufacture. 
Since American industry produced no 
commercial counterparts of the big guns, 
the tanks, the high-explosive shells, and 
the bombs, special tooling up was neces- 



sary. The six government arsenals, Ord- 
nance officers estimated, could turn out 
about 3 percent of what the Army would 
need; hence, private industrial plants must 
be converted to munitions manufacture, 
and new facilities built. Under the most 
favorable circumstances that would take 

The initial expansion of munitions pro- 
duction had come from orders placed with 
American industrial firms not by the 
United States Government but by France 
and Great Britain. Beginning in 1938, and 
increasing sharply after the outbreak of 
war in Europe, foreign orders had been 
placed with American companies for guns, 
rifles, ammunition, airplanes, and other 
military equipment, with the result that 
during 1939 and 1940 more munitions 
were produced in this country for the Brit- 
ish and French Armies than for the United 
States Army. 1 In December 1939 the Pres- 
ident appointed an interdepartmental 
committee to co-ordinate foreign and 
domestic military purchases, and soon 
afterward the Anglo-French Purchasing 
Board was formed. Multiplying foreign 
orders by no means committed American 
industry as a whole to "all-out" war pro- 
duction. On the contrary, for many months 
after fighting began in Europe, the belief 
was widely held in America that the 
United States could and should avoid en- 
tanglement in the European war. In 
November 1939 the Congress amended the 
neutrality legislation to permit the sale of 
munitions to warring nations, but only 
on a cash-and-carry basis designed to keep 
America free from financial involvement 
in the conflict. During the winter of 
1939-40, inaction on the Western Front 
was interpreted as a stalemate, and the 
conviction took hold in the minds of many 
Americans that this was a "phony war." 

Many businessmen were reluctant to enter 
into agreements with the United States 
Government for the manufacture of mili- 
tary equipment because of the uncertainty 
of the outlook and because of the vigorous 
criticism the public had leveled at muni- 
tions makers during the 1930's. These and 
other factors deterred rapid mobilization 
of American industry for war production 
and directly affected Ordnance Depart- 
ment operations. 

While, difficulties notwithstanding, the 
tempo of preparation had quickened dur- 
ing 1939 and the early months of 1940, it 
was laggardly in the light of the events of 
late spring 1940. In February General 
Marshall had presented to the Congress 
the War Department's budgetary requests 
in figures that the House subcommittee 
promptly cut by about 10 percent. Early 
in April the House passed a bill for the 
reduced amount. Before the Senate could 
act came the German conquest of Den- 
mark and Norway. During May, while 
discussion of large increases in War De- 
partment appropriations proceeded fever- 
ishly on Capitol Hill, the Nazi armies 
moved into the Low Countries and then 
into France. The changes in War Depart- 
ment concepts of need and in Congres- 
sional sentiment between September 1939 
and mid-May 1940 plainly show in the 
tabulation of requests and sums voted. (See 

Table 5. ) After February 1940 these figures 
include money authorized for contract ob- 
ligations, the payment of which would not 
fall within the fiscal year. Sen. Henry 
Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts expressed 
the new attitude of the Congress: ". . . it 
is the general feeling of Congress, and as 
far as I can gather, among public opinion 
throughout the country, to provide all the 

1 Civilian Production Administration. Industrial 
Mobilization for War (Washington, 1947), I. 51. 



Table 5 — Requests and Appropriations: September 1939-May 1940 


September-October 1939 

February 1940 

4 April 1940 

29 April 1940 and early May 

16 May 1940 

22 May 1940 


War Department 

Tentative War Department program $317, 000, 000 

War Department budget j 941, 137, 254 

House appropriation bill i 828, 999, 094 

Additions recommended by Secretary of War 103, 878, 630 

and partial restoration of cuts made by 


War Department supplementary budget 733, 000, 000 

Passed by Senate 1, 823, 554, 624 

Ordnance Total 

$139, 200,000 
119,641, 358 
11, 199,700 

306, 897, 576 
436, 296,991 

money necessary for the National Defense, 
and so all you have to do is ask for it." 2 
The limited emergency was over. Recogni- 
tion of full emergency was written into the 
appropriations act of June. 

The Period of Unlimited Emergency 

Peacetime procedures for obtaining 
Ordnance appropriations had always been 
time consuming; a lapse of eighteen 
months to two years was usual between 
preparation of fiscal estimates and receipt 
of funds voted by the Congress. The fall of 
France on 17 June 1940 necessitated a 
faster system. The annual appropriation 
for the War Department voted four days 
earlier would obviously not be enough. 
The process therefore adopted, and kept in 
operation for the next two years, was to 
pass supplemental acts. To form a basis for 
each request for supplemental funds, the 
General Staff prepared documents known 
as Expenditure Programs, giving detailed 
summaries of the specific quantities of 
items to be procured with the money to be 
voted in each act. It was a piecemeal sys- 
tem, a series of procurement demands and 
additions to appropriations. Not until the 
spring of 1942 was longer-range planning 
effected in the Army Supply Program stat- 

ing requirements in terms of two or three 
calendar years. 3 

The Military Appropriation Act, ap- 
proved 13 June 1940, and the supplemen- 
tal acts that followed at brief intervals 
through the summer and fall, plus the 
supplemental act of 5 April 1941, brought 
the 1941 fiscal year figure for the Ord- 
nance Department up to $2,977,913,998. 
Another $46,000,000 for liquidating 1939 
contracts raised the total to $3,023,913,998. 
Table 1 shows the apportionment of money 
for various purposes. For the mechanized 
units alone, an Ordnance estimate in June 
called for $89,719,000 to purchase 1,690 
medium tanks, 200 scout cars, 744 person- 
nel carriers, 527 75-mm. howitzers, and 72 
105-mm. howitzers. 4 But, for all its readi- 
ness to provide necessary funds, the Con- 
gress did not accept Ordnance estimates 
without questioning how the money was 
to be spent. The regular appropriation and 
first supplemental funds were to equip the 

2 WDAB 1941, S, p. 126. 

3 See Harry G. Thomson and Eida Mayo, Procure- 
|ment and Supply of Munitions, | the second volume of 
this subsenes, now in preparation for the series 
MS, OHF (copy in OCMH). 

4 Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 26 Jun 40, sub: Additional 
Expenditure Authorization. OO 1 12.5/1600. DRB 


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full-strength Regular Army and the first 
750,000 men enlisted through PMP. 
Money had to be spent in building powder 
plants, an ammunition loading plant, new 
storage facilities, a new Garand rifle plant, 
and in repairing arsenals. The Ordnance 
Department's allotment under the Second 
Supplemental National Defense Appro- 
priation Act was designed to provide for 
the entire PMP force plus critical items of 
reserve for a force of 2,000,000 men, and 
to supply armament for the aircraft pro- 
gram. Most of the Third Supplemental 
Act fund was assigned to ammunition pro- 
curement. Of the $913,197,851 of the Fifth 
Supplemental Act, about $800,000,000 
represented critical items deferred from 
the Second Supplemental Act. Money 
for ammunition plants was the chief item 
of cash expenditure, but antiaircraft guns, 
fire control equipment, mortars, tank 
guns, tanks, tractors, and personnel car- 
riers also were covered. 5 

From July 1941 to Pearl Harbor, the 
Congress continued to vote large Ord- 
nance appropriations at fairly close inter- 
vals to cover increases in equipment, 
acquisition of facilities to produce that 
equipment, and additional manpower. In 
preparing the regular appropriation bill 
for the War Department for the fiscal year 
1942, neither the Bureau of the Budget 
nor the Congress attempted to cut back the 
Ordnance Department's requests. General 
Wesson found not a single item chal- 
lenged. 6 The largest part of the $1,339,- 
390,595 allotted for Ordnance was cash 
for liquidating the preceding year's con- 
tract authorizat ions, that is, paying for 
critical items contracted for in the 30 June 
1940 program. 7 

When the German forces invaded the 
Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 and ad- 
vanced rapidly, the considered judgment 

of competent observers was that Germany 
would conquer the USSR in six weeks or 
two months. Consequently, American po- 
litical and military leaders were eager to 
speed industrial and military mobilization. 
On 1 1 July 1941 officers of the War De- 
partment again appeared before the House 
subcommittee, this time to explain the first 
supplemental requests for the fiscal year 
1942. The $4,770,065,588 asked for the 
Army would procure critical equipment 
and ammunition for a 3,000,000-man force 
as well as large amounts of essential items. 
Some $84,000,000 was allotted to new 
storage facilities, including six ammunition 
storage depots. 8 

The First Supplemental National De- 
fense Appropriation Act for 1942, passed 
on 25 August 1941, allowed the Ordnance 
Department $2,888,980,486— nearly as 
much as the total of all appropriations for 
Ordnance for the fiscal year 1941. {See 
Tableland [?!]) Yet a month later President 
Roosevelt wrote the Secretary of War that 
it was "perfectly clear that there should be 
a very substantial increase in ordnance 
items other than tanks," and requested 
prompt submission of "proposals of the 
Army relative to increasing these ordnance 
items." 9 After five days of intensive work 
at all levels, the War Department on 2 
October sent a list to the White House. 
The program proposed an expenditure of 
$320,000,000 for antiaircraft weapons, 
$222,000,000 for antitank weapons and 
artillery, and $1,408,000,000 for tanks and 

: > WDAB 1941, S, p. 406; W DAB, Second Supp 
1941, S, pp. 96-97; WDAB, Fifth Supp 1941, HR, pp. 
247-48. S, p. 158; WDAB 1942, S, p. 30. 

" WDAB 1942. HR, pp. 524-40. 

; WDAB, First Supp 1942, HR, p. 2. 

8 WDAB, First Supp 1942, HR, pp. 1-7, 56-60. 

" Ltr, President to SW, 27 Sep 41, sub: Procure- 
ment of Additional Ord Items, AG 111 (8-9- 39) Sec 
2, NA. 




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Table 8 — Appropriations for Ordnance Service and Supplies: Fiscal Year 1943 


Regular 2 Jul 42 

War Dept Reserve 

Procurement and Production 

Procurement Planning _ 

£864, 080 

3864, 080 

Procurement of Ammunition 

2, 706, 763, 472 



Procurement of Ordnance Materiel 

6, 850, 295, 085 

677, 056, 030 

6, 173,239,055 

Procurement of Gages and Gage Laboratory Equipment. 

17A fVYi 
J/O, \AAJ 

Operating (Including Maintenance and Repair of Chat- 


Preservation of 0. S. & S. A. Materiel 

108, 971, 690 

4, 102, 300 

104, 869, 390 

Preservation of Ammunition 

3, 840, 725 


3,421, 725 

Current Expenses of the Ordnance Dept 


26, 894, 280 

■ 181, 345, 217 

Education and Training 

Ordnance Schools and Training . 


912, 688 

Research and Development 

Research and Development _ _ 

46, 419, 000 

46, 419, 000 

Departmental Overhead 

Departmental Overhead Chief of Ordnance . . . 




39,948,319, 237 

3994, 490, 610 

38, 953, 828, 627 

a Excludes 53,250,000 transferred to General Depots, SOS. 

tank guns. 10 This high-speed planning 
typified the preparation of the 1942 finan- 
cial and rearmament programs under way 
when the attack on Pearl Harbor came. 

From June 1940 to 7 December 1941 
Ordnance appropriations were: 11 

Over-all, fiscal year 1941 $2,977,913,998 

"Regular" 1942 appropriation 1,339,390,595 

First Supplemental, 1942 2,888,980,486 

TOTAL $7,206,285,079 

After America's entrance into the war, 
seven billion dollars for munitions ceased 
to be a staggering figure. Once the nation 
was actually at war, money was no major 
consideration. The Ordnance Department 
could count on having as much as it 
needed. But before Pearl Harbor the 
United States was formally at peace. In 
the seventeen months of the unlimited 

emergency, the Congress voted the Ord- 
nance Department fourteen times the total 
given the Department in the preceding 
twenty years. 

Shipment of Ordnance "Surplus" After 
Dunkerque audits Consequences 12 

Preliminaries of Lend-Lease 

While the Congress was preparing to 
vote the first huge defense budgets in late 

Incl to memo, SW for President, 2 Oct 41. sub: 
Procurement of Additional Ord Items of Equipment, 
AG 1 1 1 (9-27-41), DRB AGO. 
" Ord Budget and Fiscal Br. 

1J For fuller discussion of many aspects of this copic 
and lend-lease operations, see Richard M. Leighton 
and Robert W. Coaklcy, Global Logistics and Strategy, 
1940-1943. a volume in preparation for the series 



May 1940, American leaders took one of 
the greatest peacetime gambles in Amer- 
ican history. As Belgian and French re- 
sistance gave way before the German at- 
tack and the British Expeditionary Force 
suffered staggering losses, the War Depart- 
ment faced the question of whether the 
United States should send large quantities 
of American reserve stocks to bolster the 
English and French. Several weeks before 
the fall of France the President, after care- 
ful study of the complex problem and 
upon advice of military and civilian ad- 
visers, decided to gamble upon the survival 
of Great Britain and France and to send 
them American equipment. 18 It required 
a ruling of The Attorney General to clear 
the way for this transfer of materiel. By 
legislation enacted in 1919 and 1926, mili- 
tary supplies declared to be surplus to 
needs of the War Department could be 
sold, and unserviceable or deteriorated 
ammunition could be exchanged for new. 
These laws The Attorney General de- 
clared applicable to the transfer, but the 
"surplus" stocks must be sold to private 
citizens, who in turn could sell to foreign 
governments. The United States Steel 
Corporation agreed to have one of its sub- 
sidiary companies be the agent in the deal. 
This roundabout procedure thus acquired 
some color of legality. 

Determining exactly what military sup- 
plies could best be spared fell mainly to the 
Ordnance Department. The German 
Army reached Abbeville on the Channel 
on 2 1 May. Early on the morning of 22 
May General Marshall called General 
Wesson to his office, outlined the problems 
of determining "surplus," and asked for a 
list of ordnance items and quantities that 
could be shipped to England. The Chief of 
Ordnance straightway called his top aides 

into conference to draw up the list of 
equipment that "could be released with- 
out prejudice to the United States Na- 
tional Defense." Tentative agreement came 
quickly, and General Wesson later the 
same day carried the resulting memoran- 
dum to General Marshall's office. 14 

During the next two weeks the Nazi 
troops rolled on to other spots along the 
Channel. The British, mustering 600 ships, 
yachts, and small river craft, succeeded in 
evacuating about 335,000 men from Dun- 
kerque, but left behind most of their arms 
and all their heavy ordnance. In Washing- 
ton frequent conferences were held to iron 
out the details of transfer of American 
"surplus." To complicate matters an Allied 
commission kept raising its demands. For 
example, early in June it requested 250,- 
000,000 additional rounds of .30-caliber 
rifle ammunition; General Wesson con- 
sidered 100,000,000 the limit. As a com- 
promise, 130,000,000 rounds was finally 
settled upon. Decisions involving a wide 
range of ordnance materiel were neces- 
sary, but by 4 June the program for ship- 
ment was virtually complete and had 
General Marshall's approval. That day 
the Equipment Division of the Ordnance 
Department Field Service sent its first 
batch of telegrams to field installations 
ordering immediate shipment of the listed 
items to Raritan for overseas transit. 15 

The capitulation of France later in June 
meant that all ordnance "surplus" mate- 

1:i This decision was made over the violent protests 
of many of the top presidential advisers and legisla- 
tive leaders of the government. They believed that 
Great Britain was finished and that the materiel 
would simply fall into Nazi hands to be used against 
America. Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hvpkins, 
An Intimate History (New York, 1948), p. 149. 

11 Min, Wesson Conference, 22 May 40, OHF. 

ls Min, Wesson Conferences, 3-6 Jun 40, OIIF. 



riel would go to England. Within the next 
two months the British received 615,000 
Enfield rifles, 25,000 Browning automatic 
rifles, BAR's, with 1,000,000 20-round 
BAR magazines, 86,000 machine guns, 
895 75-mm. guns, 138,000,000 rounds of 
.30-caliber ammunition, 1,075,000 rounds 
for the 75's, and lesser amounts of smoke- 
less pow r der and TNT. This materiel com- 
prised a very important accretion to 
British defensive powers at a most critical 
period. 1 " 

However wise the transfer of this mate- 
riel proved to be ultimately, the immediate 
consequences were a loss of equipment 
available to the United States Army. The 
value of the munitions first shipped was 
set at $37, 100,000, of which nearly $22,- 
000,000 was in ammunition. Later, as 
additional materiel was sent, the total 
reached $41,289,130. Though the pur- 
chase money would go into replacements, 
production could not be contrived over- 
night. The tanks that were shipped were 
obsolete; it is true the Enfield rifles could 
have been used in the United States only 
for training; and some of the 75-mm. guns 
and 76,000 of the machine guns, an assort- 
ment of British Marlin, Vickers, and Lewis 
models stored away and practically for- 
gotten after World War I, would not have 
been issued to the U.S. Army in any case. 
But the Browning automatic rifles were 
badly needed. Shipping 25,000 BAR's 
reduced the supply of the U.S. Army by 
nearly 30 percent, and the 895 75-mm. 
guns came from a total of 5,131. The 
ammunition sent was officially labeled 
deteriorated but was still usable. 17 

After subtracting the "surplus," ord- 
nance materiel on hand at the end of June 
1 940 looked meagre. Exclusive of a few big 
guns mounted for seacoast defense, com- 
putation showed twelve types of artillery 

available in the following quantities: 

Artillery ,s 

Antiaircraft guns: 

37-mm 8 

3-inch 807 

105-mm 13 


75-mm 91 

105-mm 14 

155-mm * 2,97 1 

8-inch 475 

240-mm 320 

Tank and antitank guns: 

37-mm. antitank 228 

37-mm. tank 184 

Field guns: 

75-mm, (all models) 4,236 

1 55-mm. (all models) 973 


81-mm 150 

3-inch trench 1,226 

a Includes 599 HiSpeeded 

Small arms were in better supply: about 
67,000 . 30-caliber Browning machine guns 
of all types, 4,421 .50-caliber of all types, 
62,430 Browning automatic rifles, 895,738 
Springfield rifles, 44,170 semiautomatic 
rifles, and 371 submachine guns. There 
were 468 tanks, 511 scout cars, and just 
over 1,200 tractors and auxiliary vehicles. 

16 ANMB Clearance Committee, Summary of 
British Orders as of 28 Dec 40 in Clearance Commit- 
tee file, Rpts to ASW, 1941, DRB AGO. For fuller 
discussion, see Leighton and Coakley, Global Logistics 
and Strategy, 1940-1943, Ch. I, MS, OCMII. 

17 Interv, 13 Mar 50, with Col Burnett R. Olmsted, 
officer in charge of figuring requirements, 1940-46. 

18 Computations are based on: Consolidated Supply 
Report, Status of Principal Items of Ordnance Gen- 
eral Supply as of 1 November 1939, and figures as of 
29 June 1940 requested by the Chief of Staff in 
Weekly Materiel Report. Both in General Supply Div, 
ODFS files. Sources of figures for artillery differ 
sharply from tabulations in G-4 files. For example, 
the 155-mm. field guns according to the General Staff 
record numbered only 641. The 973 listed above 
include pieces apparently not available for modern- 
ization. See Production Rates which must be Attained 
to get Initial Equipment for PMP, G-4/317 73, 6 Sep 
40,' DRB AGO. 



The ammunition situation was particu- 
larly acute. On 5 June 1940 there were 
588,000,000 rounds of .30-caliber ball am- 
munition in existence; the shipment of 
130,000,000 rounds to Great Britain cut 
that figure by 22 percent. By September 
additional shipments and Army consump- 
tion reduced the rounds on hand to 370,- 
000,000. No .50-caliber ammunition was 
sent. The 1,075,000 75-mm. shells shipped 
left the United States Army with 3,625,000 
rounds, though there were also about one 
and a half million unloaded cases. There 
were 124,108 loaded bombs of all types, 
27,972,979 pounds of smokeless powder 
for guns smaller than 10-inch, and bulk 
explosives in greater quantity. But the 
17,716,000 pounds of TNT released to 
Great Britain came out of a manufactur- 
ing surplus of only about 20,000,000 
pounds. 19 

In the fall of 1940, 329 obsolete tanks 
were turned over to Canada and 2 1 2 to 
Britain to be used for training, and some 
months later an additional 50,000,000 
rounds of .30-ealiber ammunition and 
most of the remaining stock of Enfield 
rifles went to the United Kingdom. Some 
equipment was released to other countries 
in the course of these months, but the 
quantities were comparatively small. Be- 
tween June 1940 and February 1941 
about 1,135,000 Enfields and 188,000,000 
rounds of .30-caliber ammunition were 
sent Great Britain. Except for the rifles, 
the transfer cost the United States much 
materiel that could be called "surplus" 
only by a long stretch of the imagination. 

Nevertheless, apart from the long-term 
advantage of strengthening British de- 
fense, the Ordnance Department did 
benefit somewhat from the transfer. Of 
some importance was the effect of the 
agreement to have British .30-caliber am- 

munition production released to the Ord- 
nance Department till the 50,000,000 
rounds shipped in February was replaced. 

This arrangement gave the U.S. Army 
new Remington ammunition at an earlier 
date than would otherwise have been pos- 
sible. Furthermore, the revelation of the 
paucity of all ammunition reserves has- 
tened action to expand manufacturing 
capacity. And finally, the Field Service 
learned in this first small-scale dress re- 
hearsal that it must strengthen its system 
of distribution and maintenance. While 
packaging and shipping the equipment to 
Britain was officially handled by the 
■ United States Steel Export Company, this 
agent employed Field Service depot work- 
men. The experience thus gained was 
useful. 20 

Subsequent Foreign Aid: Procurement 

By the end of 1940 munitions orders 
placed with American companies by the 
British Purchasing Commission amounted 
to some 3.2 billion dollars, of which the 
largest sums were for machine tools, air- 
craft, and ordnance.' 21 Though these orders 
were invaluable in creating new plant 
capacity and initiating American firms 
into ordnance manufacture, they posed 
fresh problems to officers responsible for 
re-equipping the United Slates Army. 
Companies that had contracted with for- 

l;i (1| Computed from Consolidated Ammunition 
Rpt, Status of Principal Items of Ammunition, 31 Dec 
39, ODFS files, supplemented by data in memo. 
ACofS G-4 for CofOrd, 6 Jun 40, sub: Exchange of 
Deteriorated Ammo, G-4/ 1 6 1 10-6, DRB AGO. (2) 
Memo. ACofS G-4 for CofOrd, 23 Sep 40, sub: Pro- 
duction of S.A. Ammo, G-4/31773, DRB AGO. 

Interv, 2 Sep 42. Capt Paul Olcjar with E. H. 
Meyers, Chief Clerk FS Div, 1940-41. 

'-' ANMB Clearance Committee. Summary of 
British Orders as of 28 Dec 40, in CC file, Rpts to 
ASW, 1941. DRB AGO. 



eign governments usually could not accept 
large Ordnance Department contracts. 
The plant allocation system worked out 
during the peace years therefore threat- 
ened to fall apart before industrial mobi- 
lization was well started. 22 Unfilled British 
orders, amounting to some 90 million dol- 
lars, at the end of June 1940 pre-empted 
very considerable capacity of the pro- 
ducers of forgings and tank transmissions, 
machine guns, ammunition, and explo- 
sives. Still more difficult was the problem 
of equipping new facilities because of large 
foreign machine-tool orders. British policy 
before mid- 1940 deliberately aimed at ob- 
taining tools to use in plants in the United 
Kingdom rather than at purchasing ma- 
teriel manufactured in the United States. 23 
When the Ordnance Department at last 
had money to launch a big procurement 
program, the 1 14 unfilled machine-tool 
orders placed earlier by the British Pur- 
chasing Commission constituted a stum- 
bling block. The creation of the National 
Defense Advisory Committee with power 
to veto all production contracts of more 
than $150,000 somewhat eased this prob- 
lem for the Ordnance Department after 
midsummer 1940. although the Army and 
Navy Munitions Board Clearance Com- 
mittee had for months scrutinized foreign 
orders in an attempt to prevent interfer- 
ence with the American military procure- 
ment program. 24 "The creation of addi- 
tional production capacity to meet the 
desired program," wrote Maj. Gen. James 
H. Burns in September, "is controlled pri- 
marily by the available production of ma- 
chine tools. The output of machine tools 
analysis shows demand of the United 
States and Great Britain about twice the 
present yearly supply." 2,1 A priorities sys- 
tem eventually worked reasonably well, 
but not until the Chief of Ordnance vigor- 

ously protested the allocations to Ord- 
nance. 2 ' 1 In the last analysis the most seri- 
ous problems of equipping the U.S. Army 
stemmed from the delays in developing 
new production facilities. For small arms 
ammunition these delays were particularly 
costly. 27 

As long as foreign orders were for mate- 
riel differing in design from standardized 
American equipment, the Ordnance De- 
partment could consider the experience 
American producers were gaining only 
partially helpful. But when late in the fall 
of 1940 the "battle of the types" was won 
and the British agreed to accept Ameri- 
can-type equipment, American firms tool- 
ing up for munitions work were preparing 
for production that could be immediately 
switched to the United States Army. In a 
very few cases the United States was per- 
suaded to adopt British weapons, but ex- 
asperating delays grew out of the failure 

-- Memo, OASW for Chiefs of Supply Armies and 
Services, 31 Dec 40, sub: Earmarking Industrial Facil- 
ities for Specialized Production, OO 381 Key Indus- 
trial Facilities, DRB AGO. 

(1) Memo, Secy ANMB for CofOrd, 23 Jul 40, 
sub: Status of British Orders in U.S. as of 29 Jun 40, 
OO 400.3295/136, Eng, DRB AGO. (2) W. K. 
Hancock and M. M. Govving, British War Economy 
(London. 1949), pp. 106, 229-30. 

~ J See, for example, memo, 1st Ind, CofOrd for 
ANMB Clearance Committee, 2 Aug 40. sub: Use of 
Government Owned Machinery in Production of 
75mm. Ammunition for British Orders, OO 
400.3295/177, Eng, DRB AGO. 

Ltr, Gen Burns to ASW, 16 Sep 40, cited in 
memo. Brig Gen George V. Strong for CofS, 25 Sep 
40, WPD 4321-9, DRB AGO. 

Memo. CofOrdfor USVV, 12 Mar 41, sub: 
Probable Failure of Ord Program, OO 400.12/2085, 
DRB AGO. (2) Memo. CofOrd for USW, 2 Jun 41, 
sub: Necessary Measures to Prevent Failure of Ord 
Prod Program, OO 400.12/3480, DRB AGO. The 
conflict lay between the Ordnance Department and 
the Air Forces and Navy to whose orders machine 
tools were diverted. 

11 Memo, Brig Gen Richard C. Moore, DCofS, for 
CofOrd. 23 Sep 40. sub: Production of Small Arms 
Ammunition, G-4/3 1 773. 



of the British to send complete drawings 
and specifications. 28 Only a few "noncom- 
mon" items were to be made to British 
specifications. 2 " In fact, the Anglophile in 
1940 might have contended that this ar- 
rangement left the British to pay the bill 
for tooling up for American military pro- 
duction. Meanwhile, by agreement of of- 
ficials in higher echelons than the Ord- 
nance Department Industrial Service, 
foreign orders placed before the passage 
of the Lend-Lease Act of 1941 were ordi- 
narily not to be set aside for Ordnance De- 
partment work. Formal provisos guaran- 
teeing priority to PMP critical items were 
not invoked. 30 

Passage of the Lend-Lease Act in 
March 1941 brought a new administrative 
system.*' Foreign procurement programs 
were henceforward to be financed by the 
United States Government and carried on 
by its departments and agencies. After the 
United States entered the war, lend-lease 
money was included in Army appropria- 
tions, and consequently the Ordnance De- 
partment contracted for, inspected, and 
shipped materiel for foreign aid by the 
same procedures that it employed in sup- 
plying the United States armed forces. But 
before Pearl Harbor the Congress made 
special appropriations for lend-lease and 
the Ordnance Department found itself in 
the awkward position of having to run 
two production programs. Inasmuch as 
Army materiel was mostly for use in train- 
ing the American forces now expanding 
under Selective Service whereas lend-lease 
equipment had to be shipped overseas, the 
twofold distribution was complicated. 
Keeping two simultaneous production 
schedules separate soon proved so waste- 
ful of time in getting items completed that 
the Ordnance Department resorted to jug- 
gling United States Army and lend-lease 

contracts on items common to both and to 
making the allocation of money a matter 
of accounting. For a time the Defense Aid 
Requirements Committee, established to 
deal with ordnance materiel, reviewed 
foreign requests and attempted to co-ordi- 
nate them with American requirements, 
but after October 1941 a special unit 
under Maj. Paul M. Seleen was added to 
the Executive Branch of the Office. Chief 
of Ordnance, to handle these. 32 Because 
the Ordnance Department was more con- 
cerned than any other service with pro- 
curement of machine tools, throughout the 
war all foreign requests for machine tools 
went through the Ordnance Department 
War Aid Section. 33 While planning lend- 
lease production programs so they would 
dovetail with the United States PMP was 
the responsibility of the General Staff and 

"* For example, inability to obtain a single drawing 
for the Kerrison director and power control for the 
British Bofors 40-mm. gun obliged Frankford Arsenal 
to disassemble the model completely, measure each 
gear, and then make some 600 drawings before pro- 
duction could be started. (General Barnes Diary, 14 
Jan 41, OHF.) Besides the Bofors the principal British 
weapon adopted by the U.S. Army was the 6-pounder 
(57-mm.), though the American 4.7-inch gun was rc- 
cham bcrcd to ta ke British 4.5-inch ammunition. Sec 
below JCh, IX] 

- !l (1) Hancock and Gowing, British War Economy, 
p. 231. (2) Memo, Arthur E. Palmer, Jr.. Special Asst 
to SW. for Secy GS. 6 Nov 40, AG 400.3295, DRB 

■ !0 {1) International Aid. Ordnance Lend-Lease 
Activities (hereafter cited as Intn'tl Aid, Ord I), Vol. 
I, Ch. 1. p. 9, OHF. (2) Memo, CofS for ACofS WPD, 
2 Dec 40, sub: Material Assistance to Gt Brit under 
the Brit "B" Program, OO 400.3295/1460 Eng, DRB 

In 1939 the Chief of Ordnance had announced a 
policy of noninterference with French Government 
orders unless the United States itself became involved 
in war. Min, Wesson Conference, 1 1 Apr 39. 

51 For fuller discussion, see Leighton and Coakley, 
Global Logistics and Strategy. 1940-1943, Ch. I, MS. 

:! - See |Ch. IVj below. 

33 This was variously entitled Defense Aid, War 
Aid, and finally International Aid Section. 



Under Secretary of War, detailed informa- 
tion and advice on proposed ordnance 
schedules had to come from the Ordnance 
Department. Ordnance recommendations 
might be overruled for political or other 
reasons, but they carried great weight. 

The expansion of munitions production 
and rapid increase in facilities to achieve 
it were the most urgent parts of the task 
the Ordnance Department faced in 1940 
and 1941. Industrial mobilization plan- 
ning in the preceding twenty years had 
laid the ground carefully so that Ordnance 
officers and civilian chiefs were ready to 
start the machinery of large-scale procure- 
ment as soon as the money for it was ap- 
propriated. But peacetime planning had 
not included any program of foreign aid, 
and lend-lease commitments in the months 
before the United States became a bellig- 
erent consequently imposed particular 
procurement problems. The four most im- 
portant were establishing balanced pro- 
duction, contriving manufacture of items 
not used by the U.S. Army, handling "bits 
and pieces" requisitions, and administer- 
ing the program of shipments sanctioned 
in the Lend-Lease Act. 

Keeping production in balance so that 
all component parts are ready for assem- 
bly at the same moment is difficult under 
any circumstances. The complications of 
this procedure that arose after the passage 
of the Lend-Lease Act are well illustrated 
by the situation in tank production. Early 
in 1941 the Baldwin Locomotive Com- 
pany and the American Locomotive Com- 
pany each had contracts from the Ord- 
nance Department for 685 medium tanks 
and from the British Tank Commission for 
a like number. The American Locomotive 
Company, moreover, had agreed to build 
in Canada an additional number for the 
British, and the Pullman-Standard Com- 

pany and the Pressed Steel Car Company 
had each accepted British orders for 500. 
The Ordnance Department's policy was 
to buy complete tanks and supply as "free 
issue" only government-made radio equip- 
ment, guns, and engines. The British, on 
the other hand, negotiated separate con- 
tracts for armor plate, suspension wheels, 
and other major components. Unhappily, 
the British Tank Commission had failed to 
place a contract for engine transmissions.^ 4 
Without transmissions no tanks could be 

As noted above, when the confusions 
and delays became inescapable, the Ord- 
nance Department abandoned the attempt 
to keep foreign orders and Army orders 
separate. With all the prime contractors 
using subcontractors for parts, manufac- 
ture of components was under way in 
many different plants and localities. Out- 
put of complete tanks could only be 
speeded if assembly could proceed as soon 
as parts were ready, irrespective of 
whether they were made for lend-lease or 
Ordnance Department orders. Presiden- 
tial approval of this procedure was an- 
nounced in September 1941. 35 

The second problem confronting the 
Ordnance Department on lend-lease or- 
ders concerned manufacture of noncom- 
mon items. The volume of these was not 
large because of British acceptance of 
American types of most equipment, but 
the exceptions to the general rule created 
difficulties of procurement out of all pro- 
portion to either volume or money value. 

:i4 Rpt, Lt Col W. W. Knight, Jr., for Brig Gen John 
K. Christmas. 16 May 45, sub: Informal Rpt on Early- 
Phases of Tank Program. OHF. 

Ltr, President Roosevelt to SW, 10 Aug 41, 
quoted in memo, Lt Col John B. Franks, QMC, 
Defense Aid Div, for Chiefs of all Supply Arms and 
Services. 4 Sep 41, sub: Defense Aid. . . . Intn'tl Aid, 
Ord, I, OHF. 



Furthermore, upon the recognition of 
China and later the USSR as lend-lease 
countries, their wishes for munitions meet- 
ing their own special specifications had to 
be considered. The Ordnance Depart- 
ment Defense Aid Branch assembled for 
the War Department Defense Aid office 
the information bearing upon the requests 
for noncommon items. If procuring these 
severely threatened schedules for common 
items, the Ordnance Department recom- 
mended refusal of the requests. Higher au- 
thority made the decision. When requisi- 
tions for noncommon items were accepted, 
the Ordnance Department undertook to 
find contractors for the jobs. Foreign blue- 
prints of design and specifications had to 
be obtained, and sometimes special gages. 
The Ordnance Department had to see 
that light tanks for the British were built 
with special British-designed turrets, that 
tanks for Russia had diesel instead of gaso- 
line engines; the Chinese wanted 7.92- 
mm. ammunition, the Russians a special 
nitroglycerine powder. All this at best was 
time consuming, and time was short. 
When the nonstandard items requested 
constituted an order, placing the order 
where it would not interfere with the exe- 
cution of larger orders was particularly 

"Bits and pieces" requisitions for 
standard materiel also created problems 
in 1941. Tiny orders made wholesale pur- 
chase impossible. An extreme example 
was a foreign government's request for ten 
yards of cheesecloth. On that occasion 
Col. A. B. Quinton, Jr., reached into his 
pocket, pulled out a dollar bill and offered 
it to anyone who would go to a local de- 
partment store to make the purchase di- 
rect. 36 Unfortunately, more specialized 
materiel was a different matter. Repre- 
sentatives of foreign governments, on 

learning from depot officers that certain 
items were on hand, were prone to submit 
urgent requests for all or part of the sup- 
ply. Refusal of such requests was often not 
possible for political reasons, but piece- 
meal replacement of the supplies released 
was uneconomical. The solution finally 
reached was twofold: first, to reduce the 
frequency of these requests by forbidding 
American officers to divulge to foreign 
agents any information about the stocks 
available, and, second, when "bits and 
pieces" requisitions were authorized, to di- 
vert from existing Army stores or current 
production the quantities requested but to 
wait till total "diversions" mounted to a 
sizable lot before placing a production or- 
der for replacement. 37 

The fourth complication arose out of 
the continued shipment of "surplus" 
equipment to lend-lease nations. The 
Lend-Lease Act expressly sanctioned 
transfers of supplies produced on appro- 
priations antedating 1 1 March 1941, pro- 
vided the Chief of Staff declared them sur- 
plus to the defense needs of the United 
States and provided the total value did not 
exceed 1.3 billion dollars. The "Billion 
Three" shipments, as they came to be 
called, covered almost all the first lots of 
materiel sent to the Soviet Union. The 
First (Moscow) Protocol putting the terms 
of the agreement on paper was endorsed 
by President Roosevelt on 1 October 1941. 
The United Kingdom not only received 
supplies direct from United States stocks 

Interv with Maj Gen A. B. Quinton, Jr., 1 
Jun 49. 

'■'■ 7 (1) Memo, 1st Lt John G. Detwilcr for Maj Paul 
M. Selccn. 17 Oct 41. sub: Possible Elimination oi' 
Small Requisitions. (2) Memo, Brig Gen James K. 
Crain for Chief of Equipment Div and Chief of Ammo 
Supply Div, 21 Oct 41. (3) Memo. Col Hugh C. 
Minton for WD DA Administrator, 27 Oct 4 1 , sub: 
DA Requisitions for Small Quantities. All in Intn'tl 
Aid, Ord, I, OHF. 



immediately after enactment of lend-lease 
but also, following the British withdrawal 
from Greece in May, a second large con- 
signment of "surplus," sent to augment 
British materiel in the Mediterranean and 
Middle East. 38 No one who knew the facts 
of the strategic situation doubted the wis- 
dom of the new transfers, but the Ord- 
nance Department was obliged to recast 
hastily its procurement schedules when- 
ever fresh disasters on the battlefronts or 
sinkings of vessels carrying machine tools, 
machinery, and munitions occurred. This 
virtual commandeering of American ma- 
teriel for foreign aid was, of course, to en- 
dure through much of the war, 39 but re- 
placement was less difficult after the 
United States' entry into the war enlisted 
the whole-hearted co-operation of all 
American industry in the fight to keep 
supply lines full. The release of "surplus" 
military supplies just after Dunkerque was 
more dramatic than the subsequent trans- 
fers; on the first occasion the need arose 
more unexpectedly, and the response of 
the United States was then unprece- 
dented. Still, the effect of later transfers 
was similar. Indeed, difficulties for the 
Ordnance Department in the later pre- 
Pearl Harbor transactions were greater, as 
manufacturing facilities ready to accept 
munitions orders became glutted with 
work and many peacetime procedures of 
procurement still obtained. Considering 
that over nine billion dollars in ordnance 
materiel was shipped to lend-lease nations 
before 1945, the miracle is not that trou- 
bles developed but that military procure- 
ment for the United States could proceed 
at all. 

Field Service and Foreign Aid 

While vigorous endeavors to expand 
production went forward, research and 
development work and the storage prob- 

lem received relatively little attention. Be- 
cause development of new weapons was 
less important than having adequate sup- 
plies of materiel already standardized 
ready at the earliest possible moment, all 
through 1940 and 1941 effort was delib- 
erately concentrated upon expediting out- 
put of standard items. Work upon new ex- 
perimental models was not canceled, but 
its priority was not high. 40 Field Service 
responsibilities, on the other hand, ex- 
panded at once. As the training camps 
opened after the inauguration of the Se- 
lective Service Act, depot operations be- 
came active and the mounting tasks of 
preparing shipments to foreign govern- 
ments both before and after the passage of 
the Lend- Lease Act required many more 
people to handle them. The corresponding 
need for a series of new depots to store the 
materiel that the enlarged procurement 
program must accumulate was not imme- 
diately understood. General Staff strategic 
planning through 1940 was based solely 
upon defense of the American continent, 
not upon overseas offensives. Depot op- 
erations accordingly were mapped out 
without regard to supplying armies over- 
seas. 41 When the foreign aid program was 
superimposed upon this scheme, a number 
of changes became imperative. 

' ifi International Div, Hq ASF, A Guide to Interna- 
tional Supply, 3 1 Dec 45, pp. 5, 7, 2 1 , 3 1 , DRB AGO. 
Later legislation removed most of the limitations on 
date of appropriation and amounts transferable. See 
Budgetary Methods and Financing of Lend-Leasc 
Activities, 17 Oct 44, in Intn'tl Aid, Ord I, OHF. 

!! ' See, for example, memo, OD Fiscal Br for Brig 
Gen Harry R. Kutz, Contracting OfT. 27 Sep 43, sub: 
Audit Rpt on York Safe & Lock Co, Exchange Con- 
tract W-ORD-489. 00160/13032 York Safe & Lock 
Co. Tntn'tl Aid, Ord I, OHF. 

The Assistant Secretary of War in fact warned 
emphatically of the dangerous delays in production 
that must result from failure to freeze designs. ASW 
for CofOrd. 26 Aug 40, sub: Freezing of Designs, OO 
400.1 14/752 Misc. DRB AGO. 

11 Approved Site Bd Rpts. Rpt 42, OIIF. 



In the fall of 1939 plans for increasing 
Ordnance storage facilities had called for 
new buildings at Ogden, Utah, for both 
ammunition and general supplies, and at 
Savanna, Illinois, for ammunition. Six 
months later additional storage and re- 
pairs for Field Service installations still 
stood sixteenth on the list of undertakings 
deemed essential to prepare the Ordnance 
Department for emergency, and even 
after the June 1940 Munitions Program 
was launched, the General Staff was pro- 
posing to rent commercial warehouses 
rather than construct new government de- 
pots. 12 That this procedure was unwise was 
by then clear to Ordnance Field Service. 
Strong representations made by the Ord- 
nance Department persuaded G-4 of the 
General Staff that new depots were a ne- 
cessity. War Department policy, decreed 
in 1937, limited location of depots and 
new munitions plants to sites within areas 
considered strategically safe from bomb- 
ing, though the Chief of Ordnance suc- 
ceeded in getting approval for placing 
some depots nearer the seaboard than the 
General Staff was originally willing to 
sanction. The result was selection of eight 
sites in the fall of 1940 for the Ordnance 
Department's "A" Program, creating a 
ring of permanent depots, none placed 
nearer than 200 miles to the country's 
borders." 13 

Construction began in February 1941 
on the Umatilla, Oregon, depot, and on 
the other seven depots that summer. First 
to be activated were Umatilla, in the 
northwest corner of the "safe" zone; Win- 
gate, New Mexico, in the southwest; Port- 
age, Ohio, in the northeast; and Anniston, 
Alabama, in the southeast. While not com- 
pleted, these four were ready for use by 
the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, 
thereby providing some 8,000,000 addi- 
tional square feet of space, over 5,000,000 

of it for ammunition. Furthermore, the 
construction and layout of the new depots, 
modern in every respect, permitted con- 
centration of large quantities of materiel 
and far more efficient operations than when 
stocks were scattered among twenty or 
thirty depots. These facilities doubled am- 
munition storage capacity, but adequate 
storage for general supplies had not as yet 
been provided. For these the General Staff 
in the summer of 1941 was still expecting 
to use commercial facilities. Again the 
Ordnance Department protested. During 
the second half of 1941 Field Service 
worked out its "B" plan for eight more de- 
pots. G-4 approved, and construction be- 
gan early in 1942. 44 

The first plans for expanding storage 
capacity had thus been conceived before 
foreign aid shipments were a considera- 
tion. Yet before the building program ac- 
tually got started, assembling materiel to 
be sent to the British was beginning to 
complicate operations at Ordnance depots. 
After lend-lease was enacted these compli- 
cations multiplied. Question arose in the 
late spring of 1941 of the legality of storing 
in U.S. Army depots packaged supplies 
bought by the British from commercial 
concerns. Temporarily, the Ordnance De- 
partment arranged to lease to the British 
some depot space, but this was no perma- 

" (1) 2d Ind to memo, Col Minton for OASW, 22 
May 40, OO 381/29669. DRB AGO. (2) Min, Wes- 
son Conference, 15 Jul 40, OHF. 

1:1 (1) Min. Wesson Conference, 16 Jul 40, OHF. 

(2) Pers ltr, Gen Crain to CofOrd, 25 Jul 50, OHF. 

(3) 1st ind to ltr, OCO to TAG, 17 Jul 40, OO 633/34 
Misc, DRB AGO. (4) Approved Site Bd Rpts, Rpts 
33-41, OHF. These contain background information 
about the bases of selection of depot sites. 

'Ml) Pws ltr. Gen Crain to CofOrd, 25 Jul 50. (2) 
Min. Wesson Conference, 2 Jul 41, OHF. (3) OCO, 
FS Storage Div. Hist of Depot System, Jul 39 to 7 Dec 
4 I , Exhibits 1-3. OHF. For fuller discussion of Field 
Service problems, see Thomson and Mayo, Procure- 
|ment and Supply oi Munitions] MS, OHF. 



nent solution of the problem. 4 ' Submarine 
warfare made shipping schedules so irreg- 
ular that transport of completed items di- 
rect from factory to the docks would have 
created intolerable congestion at the ports. 
Furthermore, some equipment required 
assembly of complementary items. Conse- 
quently, "intransit" storage was unavoid- 
able, either in regular Army depots or oc- 
casionally at commercial warehouses that 
the British had acquired. In May 1941 the 
Chief of Ordnance described the situation: 

Theoretically at least a shipload of tanks 
should, as far as practicable, be by organiza- 
tion. The shipment should include not only 
tanks but all accessories, essential extra parts 
and all allied equipment. It has been neces- 
sary for the Ordnance Department to utilize 
in a manner . . . far from ideal available 
storage space. At Raritan Arsenal, for exam- 
ple, nowhere is there available a covered 
floor space essential to the gradually increas- 
ing task of receiving, sorting and checking 
equipment to see that ships can be loaded 
from the standpoint of organization equip- 
ment so that as promptly as possible after 
reaching the other side the equipment can be 
put to use. 46 

The congestion at British ports on the west 
coast of Great Britain during this period 
necessitated taking every possible measure 
in the United States to expedite unloading 
in the United Kingdom. 47 The result was 
a decision ordinarily to exclude lend-lease 
materiel from regular Army depots in or- 
der to prevent clogging of operations 
there, and to establish intransit storage de- 
pots for lend-lease. The first intransit 
storage depot opened in midsummer of 
1941. Here lend-lease as well as some 
United States Army materiel waiting for 
shipping space was stored, and Ordnance 
personnel assisted a British contingent in 
assembling equipment. Eventually the 
Treasury Department allotted lend-lease 
money to building eleven depots for lend- 

lease supplies. Five of these were in time 
turned over to the Ordnance Department 
to run without special differentiation be- 
tween Army and lend-lease materiel. 48 

That the depot programs of 1939 and 
1940 were inadequate by 1941 was due far 
less to the scheduling of large-scale foreign 
aid than to the General Staff concept of 
continental defense. 49 As realization grew 
that the United States would almost surely 
be drawn into the war, earlier plans were 
revised, but not before Ordnance Field 
Service was beginning to suffer from lack 
of depot facilities. Storage was only one of 
many Ordnance responsibilities for main- 
tenance and distribution of fighting equip- 
ment, but within the zone of the interior 
during the defense period and, indeed, 
long after, storage constituted a peculiarly 
acute problem. Foreign aid added to, but 
did not create, these difficulties. In fact, the 
prewar experience gained in handling for- 
eign aid materiel was invaluable later. 

Memo, Lt Col Henry S. Aurand for Gen 
Eugene Reybold, 3 Jun 41, sub: Storage for Defense 
Aid. Exhibit 48, Approved Site Rpts, Rpt 48, OHF. 
(2) Memo, Brig Gen George R. Spaulding for G-4, 
29 Jun 41. Folder Correspondence Lend-Lease 4, 

Memo, CofOrd for TAG, 14 May 41, sub: Stor- 
age Space under LL Act, AG 400.242 (5-14-41) (1), 

17 Bombings and sinkings along the east coast where 
the bulk of British imports was ordinarily handled had 
mounted to a pitch that had led the British Govern- 
ment to route all cargos to west coast ports. These 
were insufficiently equipped with dock storage or 
rail transport facilities. See discussion in Hancock and 
Gowing, British War Economy, pp. 250-65. 

4S (1) OCT. Hist Br, Monograph 6, pp. 338-39. (2) 
Ltr, TAG to Chiefs of Arms and Services and Chief 
of AAF, 20 Aug 41, sub: DA Storage and Transporta- 
tion. AG 681 (8-14-41), DRB AGO. For fuller dis- 
cussion, see Chester Wardlow, The Transportation 
Corps: Responsibilities, Organisation , and Operations 
(Washington, 1951). 

See Stetson Conn and Byron Fairehild, The 
Framework of Hemisphere Defense, a volume in prep- 
aration for the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN 


Organization of the Ordnance 
Department: 1940-45 

The Early Months of 1940 

In the early months of 1940 the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, in Washington was still 
housed in the Munitions Building, which 
had been its home since World War I. Gen- 
eral Wesson's staff at the end of May num- 
bered 400 — 56 Regular Army officers, 3 
Reserve officers, and 341 civilians. 1 All 
the other supply services also had their 
headquarters in the Munitions Building, 
and overcrowding was becoming a serious 
problem. By the end of the summer the 
Ordnance Department had outgrown its 
peacetime quarters and in December 
moved to larger, more modern offices in 
the Social Security Building on Independ- 
ence Avenue. 

No essential change in the Ordnance 
mission or organizational pattern had been 
made for nearly twenty years, but the com- 
plexity and variety of the Army's weapons 
had increased and by 1940 plans were well 
under way for their production in enor- 
mous quantities. With $176,000,000 
allotted to the Department for the fiscal 
year 1940, and many times that amount 
for the following year, the procurement 
and distribution of munitions was becom- 
ing "big business." General Wesson's staff 
in 1940 was divided, as it had been since 
1920, into four main groups — the General 
Office, the Technical Staff, the Industrial 

Service, and the Field Service.- IfCVzar/ /J| 
The General Office performed adminis- 
trative duties under direction of the execu- 
tive officer, Brig. Gen. Hugh C. Minton. 
The Technical Staff supervised tests of 
experimental equipment and collaborated, 
through the Ordnance Committee, with 
the using arms. The two main operating 
units of the Ordnance office were the 
Industrial Service, with broad responsibil- 
ity for production and procurement, and 
the Field Service, which handled supply. 

To aid in administering the Department, 
the Chief of Ordnance was authorized by 
law to have two assistants with the rank of 
brigadier general. 3 During General 
Wesson's term of office the assistants were 
Brig. Gen. Earl McFarland and General 
Harris. In 1940 General McFarland was 
chief of the Military Service, with jurisdic- 
tion over both the Field Service and the 

1 On 30 January 19+0 the; chief of the Military Per- 
sonnel and Training Branch reported that the total 
military strength of the Ordnance Department was 
3 76 officers and 3,280 enlisted men. Min, Wesson 
Conference, 30 Jan 40, OHF. 

2 ODO 122, 31 Jul 39, OHF. These four units were 
officially called "groups" and were subdivided into 
divisions, sections, and branches. The term "head- 
quarters" was seldom used to refer to the Office, Chief 
of Ordnance. General Wesson felt that "headquar- 
ters" was properly applied only to a military organi- 
zation, and he looked upon his staff as primarily a 
business office. 

s National Defense Aet, 4 June 1920, PL 242, 66th 
















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Technical Staff, while General Harris was 
chief of the Industrial Service. This 
arrangement gave emphasis to the distinc- 
tion between the military duties of the 
Chief of Ordnance, for which he was re- 
sponsible to the Chief of Staff of the Army, 
and his industrial duties, for which he was 
responsible to the Assistant Secretary of 

By far the largest of the four groups was 
the Industrial Service which, in addition 
to its procurement and production func- 
tions, had responsibility for designing and 
developing new and improved weapons, 
since Ordnance at the time had no Re- 
search and Development Division. 4 Dur- 
ing the spring of 1940, when interest in the 
rearmament program was growing, Col. 
Gladeon M. Barnes, chief of the Technical 
Staff, urged General Wesson to separate 
the research function from production and 
procurement by establishing a research 
division independent of the Industrial 
Service. Colonel Barnes argued that this 
would give the research experts freedom 
to carry on their investigations and experi- 
ments without being constantly hampered 
by production problems. 5 But General 
Wesson decided that the most pressing 
need at the moment was not for more 
time-consuming research and experimen- 
tation with new weapons but for the prep- 
aration of blueprints and specifications for 
equipment already approved. He chose to 
keep design and development within the 
Industrial Service and, at the same time, 
to strengthen that service by adding three 
experienced officers as assistants to Gen- 
eral Harris. He named Col. Burton O. 
Lewis as assistant chief for. production and 
procurement; transferred Colonel Barnes 
from the Technical Staff to the Industrial 
Service as assistant chief for engineering; 
and a short time later ordered Lt. Col. 

Chief of Ordnance, 1938-42. 

Levin H. Campbell, Jr., from Frankford 
Arsenal to Washington to become assistant 
chief for facilities. 6 

These three "vice presidents," as they 
were familiarly known in the Department, 
assumed their duties while Ordnance was 
being tooled up for the big job ahead. In 
the summer of 1940 the Industrial Service 
was suddenly called upon to negotiate con- 
tracts amounting to hundreds of millions 
of dollars for a great variety of complex 

♦ODO 122, 31 Jul 39, OHF. 

5 Memo, Col Barnes for Gen Wesson, 13 May 40, 
sub: Expansion of Research and Development Activi- 
ties, OHF. For further discussion of the problem of 
organizin g research and development activities, see 



" ( 1) Intervs with Gen Harris and Brig Gen Burton 
O. Lewis, Jun 49. (2) General Instructions 1, 2, 3, 4, 
Ind Serv, Jun-Jul 40, OHIv See also Brig, Gen, Levin 
H. Campbell, Jr., "'Ordnance Facilities," Army Ord- 
nance, XXI, 124 (1941), 369. 



weapons. The district offices were expand- 
ing their small peacetime organizations as 
quickly as possible and were preparing to 
handle procurement assignments on a 
grand scale. The three assistant chiefs 
aided General Harris in exercising effec- 
tive supervision over the operating divi- 
sions of the Industrial Service during this 
period of rapid growth. 

Management of supply activities was the 
responsibility of Field Service. It stored 
and issued materiel; inspected, repaired, 
and maintained ordnance equipment, 
whether in storage or in the hands of 
troops; and administered storage depots, 
renovation plants, and other field estab- 
lishments. The growing importance of 
supply operations early in 1940 led to the 
assignment of the executive officer for 
Field Service, Col. James K. Crain, as 
chief of the Field Service, under the super- 
vision of General McFarland, chief of the 
Military Service. 7 The Field Service at 
that time was organized into an Executive 
Division, a War Plans and Training Divi- 
sion (later renamed Military Organization 
and Publications Division), and three 
operating divisions — Ammunition Supply, 
General Supply, and Maintenance. In 
April the Maintenance and General Sup- 
ply Divisions were placed under the direc- 
tion of Col. Everett S. Hughes, then desig- 
nated chief of the Equipment Division, to 
bring about closer co-ordination of their 
activities, particularly as they concerned 
spare parts. 8 Under Colonel Crain's super- 
vision, specially trained Ordnance com- 
panies and battalions were organized to 
administer Field Service depots and main- 
tain Ordnance equipment in the hands of 
troops. Construction of new storage facili- 
ties was begun during 1940, and in mid- 
summer the Field Service handled its first 
big prewar assignment — the transfer of 

over 50,000 tons of Ordnance supplies to 
the British Army. 

From the Office, Chief of Ordnance, 
control was exercised over an increasing 
number of field establishments. These were 
divided into four main groups, with the 
General Office administering the schools, 
the Technical Staff the laboratories and 
proving grounds, the Industrial Service the 
arsenals and district offices, and the Field 
Service the storage depots and renovation 
plants. General Wesson delegated full 
authority to the commanding officers to 
carry on day-to-day operations, subject 
only to broad policies determined by the 
Washington headquarters. This practice 
was based on the traditional Ordnance 
policy of "centralized control from the 
Washington office with operations decen- 
tralized to field agencies." H 

At General Wesson's 1 1 o'clock confer- 
ences, held virtually every day, members 
of the staff reported on progress and diffi- 
culties and threshed out common prob- 
lems. Sometimes only two or three officers 
attended and at other times the heads of 
all the groups and staff branches were 
present. On several occasions the Chief of 
Staff and other representatives of the War 
Department high command attended. 
Under General Wesson's leadership, the 
"11 o'clocks" served as the central policy- 
making agency for the Ordnance Depart- 
ment. 10 

7 ( 1) Ord SO 76, par. 5, 30 Mar 40, OHF. (2) In- 
tervs with Gen McFarland and Maj Gen James K. 
Crain, 30Jun 49. 

" ( 1 ) Change 2, ODO 1 22, I Apr 40, OHF. ( 2) In- 
terv with Gen Crain, 30 Jun 49. 

'* Ordnance Department Reply to Questionnaire 
No. 2. House Committee on Military Affairs, 14 Jul 
41, OO 400.12/4454, DRB AGO. 

"' (1) Interv with Gen McFarland, 28 Feb 50. (2) 
Min, Wesson Conferences, 21 Dec 38-18 May 42, 



Organizational Developments, June 1940 to 
June 1942 

Most of the changes in the organization 
of the Department between June 1940 and 
June 1942 resulted from the swift expan- 
sion of Ordnance operations, beginning 
with the Munitions Program of 30 June 
1940 and culminating in the multibillion- 
dollar arms appropriations of early 1942. 
The extent of this expansion is indicated 
by the rise in the number of people in the 
Washington office — from 400 in May 1940 
to 5,000 in June 1942. Between these two 
dates nearly 100,000 civilian workers 
throughout the nation were added to the 
Ordnance Department payroll, not count- 
ing hundreds of thousands employed by 
contractors holding Ordnance contracts. 

In spite of this rapid growth, few 
changes were made in the organization of 
the Department until June 1942 when 
Maj. Gen. Levin H. Campbell, Jr., became 
Chief of Ordnance. General Wesson's hope, 
expressed in early 1940, that "the machine 
is so designed and planned that it can 
meet the load imposed on it without break- 
ing down," was largely realized. 11 The 
changes in the headquarters organization 
were mostly additions to the staff, such as 
the establishment of a Lend-Lease Section 
in the Fiscal Division after the passage of 
the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941. Simi- 
larly, because of the pressure for increased 
tank production in the spring of 1941, a 
separate Tank and Combat Vehicle Divi- 
sion was split off from the Artillery Divi- 
sion of the Industrial Service. 12 

In July 1941 General Wesson made one 
major organizational change when he 
abolished the Technical Stall' and trans- 
ferred its functions and personnel to vari- 
ous branches of the Industrial Service. 13 
He assigned most of the former Technical 

Staff functions to Brig. Gen. Gladeon M. 
Barnes, who then became the assistant 
chief for research and engineering in the 
Industrial Service. General Wesson's pur- 
pose was to eliminate duplication of effort 
between the Technical Staffand the Indus- 
trial Service. This change, coupled with 
the increasing independence of the Field 
Service under the leadership of Brig. Gen. 
James K. Crain, led to dropping the posi- 
tion of chief of the Military Service in the 
summer of 1941. General McFarland, who 
had filled this position since 1938, was 
assigned to continue as chairman of the 
Ordnance Committee and to supervise and 
investigate various activities pertaining 
directly to the Office, Chief of Ordnance. 14 

A fourth "vice president" was added to 
the Industrial Service in July 1941, when 
Brig. Gen. Richard H. Somers, former 
chief of the Technical Staff, was appointed 
assistant chief for inspection. I:) General 
Somers was responsible for testing new 
materiel at Ordnance proving grounds and 
for co-ordinating all inspection activities 
within the Industrial Service. As the muni- 
tions production curve began to rise, and 
as plans for a tremendous procurement 
program matured, inspection assumed 
huge proportions. 

In December 1941, a few days after the 
attack on Pearl Harbor, Brig. Gen. Burton 
O. Lewis, assistant chief for production 
and procurement, was named deputy chief 
to General Harris. General Lewis' respon- 

11 Gen. C. M, Wesson, "Ordnance Department 
Procurement," lecture, Army Industrial College, 15 
Jan 40. 

12 Change 4, ODO 156, 18 Jul 41, OHF. 

1 ; (1) Changes 1-5, ODO 156, 22 Jul 41. (2) ODO 
183, 29 Jul 41, OHF. For a discussion of the Techni- 
cal Sta ff and its po sition in the Ordnance organiza- 
tion, set j Ch. VIII J below. 

14 Interv with Gen McFarland, 28 Feb 50. 

15 (1) General Instructions 22, Ind Serv, 24 Jul 41, 
OIIF. (2) ODO 183, 29 Jul 41, OHF. 



sibility for supervising production was 
then taken over by General Campbell, 
who had virtually completed his earlier 
assignment by getting the construction of 
new facilities well under wav. 16 At the 
same time, the Department's procurement 
program was turned over to Colonel 
Quinton, former chief of the District Con- 
trol Division, who became assistant chief 
for purchasing. In this capacity Colonel 
Quinton supervised the purchasing activi- 
ties of the arsenals and Ordnance districts 
and maintained liaison with the Office of 
the Under Secretary of War and the Office 
of Production Management. 17 

In the Field Service several organiza- 
tional changes occurred during 1941 and 
early 1942. The first was the establish- 
ment in July 1941 of the Utilities Division, 
which was to plan the construction of new- 
storage depots and provide for mainte- 
nance and new construction at all existing 
Ordnance depots. 18 By the spring of 1942, 
Field Service exercised control over forty- 
two field installations as compared with 
twenty-seven two years earlier. Fifteen 
new depots for the storage of ammunition 
and other ordnance supplies had been 
built, and the Wingate Depot in New 
Mexico had been so extensively rebuilt 
that it was practically a new installation. 19 

In February 1942 a whole new level of 
administration was added to the Field 
Service when six positions of assistant 
chief, roughly comparable to those of the 
assistant chiefs of the Industrial Service, 
were created. By then the volume of busi- 
ness in the Field Service had become so 
great that General Crain felt it essential 
to have the assistance of experienced offi- 
cers capable of assuming a large measure 
of responsibility. 2 " Each assistant chief was 
made responsible for a phase of Field Serv- 
ice activities in which he was specially 

qualified, and was required to report di- 
rectly to the chief of the Field Service. Col. 
Charles M. Steese was assigned plans and 
statistics, and ammunition and bombs; 
Colonel Hughes, artillery; Col. Morris K. 
Barroll, automotive equipment and arma- 
ment; Col. Stephen MacGregor, small 
arms; and Col. James L. Hatcher, aircraft 
armament. The new appointees also main- 
tained close contact with the appropriate 
assistant chiefs of the Industrial Service in 
order to expedite deliveries of ordnance 
from factory to training center or fighting 
front. 21 

Relations with Army Service Forces 

The 9 March 1942 reorganization of the 
Army brought about a fundamental 
change in the relationship between the 
Ordnance Department and higher head- 
quarters." 1 ' With the establishment of the 
Services of Supply, the Army Ground 
Forces, and the Army Air Forces, a new 
level of command was placed between the 
Ordnance Department and the Chief of 
Staff and Under Secretary of W r ar. The 

" ; (1) Intcrv with Gen Lewis, summer 1949. (2) 
General Instructions 29, Ind Serv, 16 Dee 41, OHF. 
(3) Change 8, ODO 183, 15 Dec 41, OHF. 

'■ (1) Interv with Gen Quinton, 1 Jun 49. (2) Gen- 
eral Instructions 29, Ind Serv. 1 fi Dec 41, OHF. (3) 
Change 8. ODO 183, 15 Dec 41, OHF. General 
Quinton was; on duty in the Office of the Under Sec- 
retary of War during February and March 1942. 

1S ODO 183, 29 Jul 41, OHF. For a general de- 
scription of the Field Service, see Brig. Gen. James K. 
Crain, "Ordnance Service in Our New Army," Army 
Ordnance, XXI, 125 (1941), 464. 

1,J Sec ODO 250, 31 Mar 42, OHF, for list of field 

2,1 (1) Change 1, ODO 215, 4 Feb 42. OHF. (2) In- 
tcrv with Gen Crain, 30 Jun 49. 

-"' FS Office Memo 32, 5 Feb 42. OHF. Detailed 
statements of the duties of each assistant chief ap- 
peared in various FS office memos and in ODO 250, 
31 Mar 42, OHF. 

22 WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, sub: War Department Re- 



commanding general of the Services of 
Supply, Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, 
was given broad powers over all the sup- 
ply services. ' 5 He and his staff not only 
took a large part of the administrative 
burden off the shoulders of General Mar- 
shall and Under Secretary Patterson, but 
also worked out the Army Supply Pro- 
gram to guide procurement activities of 
the supply services. 

The new headquarters combined in one 
organization all elements of supervision 
formerly divided between G-4 of the Gen- 
eral Staff and the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War. The March 1942 reor- 
ganization did not abolish the Office, 
Chiel of Ordnance, or the offices of any of 
the other supply chiefs as it abolished the 
offices of the Chiefs of Infantry, Cavalry, 
Field Artillery, and Coast Artillery when 
those arms were united to form the Army 
Ground Forces. As a result each supply 
service continued to have some measure of 
independence. The Ordnance Depart- 
ment, for one, vigorously resisted further 
moves to limit its prerogatives and to inter- 
fere with its methods of operation. 

In the relations between Ordnance and 
ASF friction gradually developed and 
eventually increased to such a degree that 
it had a marked effect upon the function- 
ing of the two organizations. 21 The Ord- 
nance Department, with its century-old 
tradition of independence and technical 
competence, looked upon the new head- 
quarters with suspicion and resentment, 
while a few of the officers in ASF con- 
sidered the Ordnance Department rather 
stiff-necked and imbued with an unco- 
operative spirit bordering at times on 
insubordination. Some ASF officers re- 
garded Ordnance not only as being too 
conservative and unimaginative but also 
as being so intent upon protecting its own 

interests that it sometimes placed them 
above the interests of the Army as a 
whole. 2 ' Col. Clinton F. Robinson, director 
of the ASF Control Division, commented 
in April 1942: 

There appears to be a decided fraternity 
or clique feeling among the majority of Ord- 
nance officers. . . . There is apparently a 
belief that there is something "mysterious" 
about the design and production of Ord- 
nance munitions; Ordnance officers are spe- 
cialists in this — no one else knows anything 
about it, and no one should interfere. Ap- 
parently there is the feeling that the way the 
organization should operate is to give the 
Ordnance Department the job, and com- 
plete authority for production of Ordnance 
munitions, and then for any higher head- 
quarters to forget about it and assume that 
the job is being done. . . 

Ordnance officers believed that there 
was a great deal about the production and 
maintenance of munitions that the unini- 
tiated could not readily comprehend, and 
many who had specialized in their chosen 
fields for years resented supervision by of- 
ficers on General Somervell's staff who 

-"• In April 1942 the term "supply services" was 
adopted by the Services of Supply, in place of the 
older term "supply arms and services," to describe 
Ordnance, Quartermaster Corps, Corps of Engineers, 
Signal Corps, Chemical Warfare Service, Transporta- 
tion Corps, and Medical Corps. A year later the term 
"technical services" was officially introduced as more 
accurately descriptive, SOS GO 4, 9 Apr 42; ASF Cir 
30, 15 May 43. DRB AGO. The Services of Supply- 
was redesignated Army Service Forces by WD GO 
14, 12 May 43. To avoid confusion, the latter title is 
used throughout the rest of this chapter. 

24 The following paragraphs are based on numer- 
ous interviews with officers who served in ASF and 
in Ordnance during the war period, and upon many 
scattered fragments found in the correspondence files 
of both agencies. For a statement of the situation from 
the ASF point of view, see Millett, Organization and 
Role of the Army Service Forces. 

- T ' Interv, 10 Aug 49, with Col Kilbourne Johnston, 
ASF Control Div. " 

J " Memo, Col Robinson for Gen Somervell, 12 Apr 
42, ASF Control Div File 321 (Ord), DRB AGO. 



















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0-_ 2 







were not familiar with the nature of Ord- 
nance problems. They complained that 
they w r ere forced again and again to waste 
valuable time explaining to a succession of 
ASF officers why existing Ordnance pro- 
cedures were necessary, why munitions 
production "could not be turned on and 
off like a water spigot," and why proposals 
for achieving greater efficiency would not 
work. One top-ranking Ordnance officer 
summarized the Department's point of 

The Ordnance Department had been a 
procuring service over a period of some 130 
years. During that time it had developed a 
certain know-how concerning procurement 
and manufacture. Very few of the members 
of the ASF headquarters had any experience 
in the procurement or manufacture of ord- 
nance items. . . . There was a group of 
some two or three thousand in the ASF head- 
quarters with little or no experience along 
our specialized line who were continually 
telling us just how to do our job in the mi- 
nutest details. We resented this, and I think 
rightly so. 27 

The Ordnance Department fully recog- 
nized the need for control of the Army's 
procurement program by an agency such 
as the General Staff, the Office of the 
Under Secretary of War, or the ASF, but 
it strongly objected to attempts by any 
such agency to take on direct operating 
functions or to supervise its activities too 
closely. As General Harris once expressed 
it, "The higher headquarters should chart 
the course, but not keep a hand on the 
wheel." In accord with this policy, the 
Ordnance Department, during 1941 and 
early 1942 when it was directly responsi- 
ble to the Under Secretary of War, had ar- 
ranged frequent production conferences 
to which Mr. Patterson, members of the 
General Staff, and representatives of the 
civilian production control agencies were 

invited. "At these meetings," said General 
Lewis, "the Ordnance Department took 
the initiative in laying its cards on the 
table. We said to Judge Patterson and to 
all the others present, 'Here is what we are 
doing, and here is w r hat we plan to do. 
Look over our production schedules and 
our program for the future and tell us if 
we are on the right track.' " These confer- 
ences, carried on in a spirit of co-operation 
and mutual confidence, promoted under- 
standing, but were discontinued soon after 
the creation of the ASF. 28 

The new headquarters introduced im- 
personal supervision and reporting. In its 
efforts to harness the supply services and 
to keep them all pulling in the same direc- 
tion at the same speed, it standardized 
procedures wherever possible and mini- 
mized the differences among the services. 
At the same time, the ASF staff exercised 
much closer supervision over the services 
than had the Under Secretary of War. 
Inspections of various activities and re- 
quests for statistical reports on many 
phases of the supply program became the 
order of the day and, as time went on, 
Ordnance officers felt that ASF interfered 
more and more in the details of Ordnance 

General Somervell recognized in the 
summer of 1942 that some members of his 
staffhad gone too far. At a conference of 
the commanding generals of the Service 
Commands in August, he declared: "I 
know that you have been plagued with a 
lot of parachute jumpers from Washing- 
ton. They drop in on you every day, in 
great numbers, and inspect you from hell 
to breakfast. We want to cut that out to a 
very considerable extent. I notice that here 

- 7 Ltr, Col Raaen, exec off to Gen Campbell, 1942- 
45, to author, 15 Aug 49, OHF. 

J " Intervs with Gen Lewis, during summer of 1949. 



in Chicago alone, for example, in the Ord- 
nance District office, one month they had 
151 inspectors come here . . . 151. Well, 
how in the world they ever had a chance 
to do anything, I don't know." 39 These 
comments suggest that many of the diffi- 
culties that arose in Ordnance-ASF rela- 
tions could have been avoided if super- 
vision by ASF had been more effectively 
co-ordinated and controlled. Particularly 
during 1942, while ASF was building up 
its organization and working out its in- 
ternal plans of operation, friction fre- 
quently occurred as a result of inexpert 
implementation of ASF policies. 

Other difficulties in Ordnance-ASF re- 
lations stemmed from the fact that in 1942 
and 1943 only one high-ranking Ordnance 
officer, General Minton, held an impor- 
tant position in the ASF. The lack of Ord- 
nance representation within ASF was due 
in large part to General Campbell's re- 
luctance to release badly needed Ord- 
nance officers, but it nevertheless aggra- 
vated the Ordnance Department's irrita- 
tion over close staff supervision, and made 
difficult the development of mutual con- 
fidence. Many Ordnance officers agreed 
with General Somervell's objectives, but 
they felt that ASF staff officers were de- 
feating their own ends and delaying the 
Ordnance program by issuing directives 
that took little account of the Depart- 
ment's problems. The presence of even 
two or three Ordnance officers in the 
councils of the ASF in 1942 might have 
served the dual purpose of allaying the re- 
sentment aroused by the very existence of 
the new headquarters and of adjusting 
ASF policies to fit Ordnance needs. 30 

Underlying the structure of Ordnance- 
ASF relations was the fear, shared in vary- 
ing degrees by all the technical services, 
that the ultimate objective of ASF was to 

abolish the technical services. They feared 
they might some day meet the fate of the 
combat arms, which lost their identities at 
the creation of the AGF. General Somer- 
vell never reassured them on this point, 
and throughout the war the services saw 
the ASF as a constant threat to their inde- 
pendent existence. This feeling became 
particularly strong after a detailed ASF 
plan for abolishing the services was actu- 
ally made public in the summer of 1943. :<1 
Upon the Department's internal organ- 
ization also, ASF had important effects. 
Though ASF policy was to leave the com- 
manding general of each technical service 
free to organize his own command as he 
saw fit, ASF in the course of the war di- 
rected a number of specific changes in the 
organization of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment. Moreover, the mere existence of 
ASF exerted an indirect effect on Ord- 
nance organization. After General Somer- 
vell's headquarters achieved a relatively 
stable organization, it urged the technical 
services to copy its pattern so that each 
ASF staff division would have a counter- 
part in each technical service. At the same 
time, the chiefs of the technical services 
were required to conform to certain broad 
principles set forth in the ASF Control 

Rpt of Conference of CG's Service Commands, 
5th Session. 1 Aug 42. p. 250, OHF. 

:i! > This view has been expressed by many Ordnance 
officers in conversations with the author. When asked 
to comment on it in June 1952. General Somervell 
stated that there were many Ordnance colonels in 
ASF and that, because of the urgent need for capable 
officers to manage the Ordnance program, he ac- 
ceded to General Campbell's request not to take more 
officers out of the Department. Ltr, Gen Somervell to 
author, 17 Jun 52, OHF. 

"■' For a description of this plan see Millett, op. at. 
The attitude of the Secretary of War toward the plan 
is expressed in Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge 
Bundy, On Active Service ;;? Peace and War (New York, 
1948 ), p. 452. See copy of a similar plan, dated 15 Jul 
44, ASF Control Div file 020, DRB AGO. 



Manual and the ASF Organization Man- 
ual, and to submit all proposals for major 
organizational changes to the ASF Con- 
trol Division for approval. 12 

The Latter Half of 1942 

On 1 April 1942 President Roosevelt 
sent the name of Maj. Gen. James H. 
Burns to the Senate for confirmation as 
Chief of Ordnance to succeed General 
Wesson, whose term of office was to expire 
in June. 33 General Burns, at that time ex- 
ecutive officer to Mr. Harry L. Hopkins, 
chairman of the Munitions Assignments 
Board, was an outstanding Ordnance offi- 
cer with a distinguished record. His nom- 
ination was promptly confirmed. 34 But on 
20 May the President nominated General 
Campbell to be Chief of Ordnance, ex- 
plaining that General Burns had declined 
to accept the nomination. 35 On the same 
day the War Department announced that 
General Burns had acted at the request of 
Mr. Hopkins who felt that an "urgent 
necessity" existed for General Burns to 
continue his work with the Munitions As- 
signments Board. 36 In the summer of 1949 
General Burns stated that he requested 
withdrawal of his nomination primarily 
because it had become apparent to him 
that the differences between his and Gen- 
eral Somervell's views on the management 
of the Ordnance Department were too 
sharp to be reconciled. 37 On the morning 
of 1 June General Campbell took the oath 
of office in the new Pentagon Building, 
into which the Department — the first war 
agency to occupy quarters in the still un- 
finished structure — had moved a few 
weeks earlier. 38 

General Campbell had graduated from 
the United States Naval Academy in June 
1909, and shortly thereafter resigned to 

enter industry. He was commissioned in 
the Army as a second lieutenant, Coast 
Artillery Corps, in December 191 1, Dur- 
ing World War I, while assigned to the Of- 
fice, Chief of Ordnance, he worked on the 
engineering development of railway gun 
mounts. He served at various Ordnance 
installations during the 1920's and 1930's, 
devoting his attention primarily to the 
production of artillery, tanks, and ammu- 
nition. In 1939 and 1940 he won wide 
recognition for his success in introducing 
new automatic machinery for the assem- 
bly-line production of artillery ammuni- 
tion at Frankford Arsenal. After being or- 
dered to Washington in June 1940 to be- 
come assistant chief of the Industrial Serv- 
ice for facilities, he planned and super- 
vised the construction of new plants 
needed by the Industrial Service and then 
succeeded General Lewis as assistant chief 
of the Industrial Service for production. 

:la The Ordnance Department had close relations 
with the various civilian agencies created to promote 
effective co-ordination of the national war produc- 
tion program. The activities of all these agencies are 
considered in detail in the account of Ordnance pro- 
duction and procurement in Thomson and Mayo, 
Procurement and Supply of Munitions, MS, OIIF. 
For discussion of Or dnance re lations with civilian 
research agencies, see |Ch. VIII.| below. 

Congressional Record, Vol. 88, Pt. 3, 77th Cong, 
2d Sess, pp>. 3282-83. Announcement of the nomina- 
tion was made by the White House and by the War 
Department on 1 April 1942, and appeared in the The 
New York Times, April 2, 1942, p. 15. and. in Army 
Ordnance, XXII, 132 (1942), 965, 970. 

** Congressional Record, Vol. 88, Pt. 3, p. 3328. 

(1) Ibid., p. 4410. (2) Executive Proceedings of 
the Senate, 77th Cong. 2d Sess, Vol. 84, p. 276. 

aB (1) WD press release, 20 May 42. (2) 1 he New 
York Times, May 21, 1942, p. 1 1. (3) Army Ordnance, 
XXIII, 133 (1942) 106. 

,! " Interv with Gen Burns, 12 Sep 49. When ques- 
tioned about the incident by the author in 1952, 
General Somervell disclaimed any recollection of it. 
Ltr, Somervell to author, 17 Jun 52, OHF. 

:1 " For an account of the ceremony attending Gen- 
eral Campbell's induction into office, see Army and 
Navy Journal, 6 June 1942, p. 11 14. 



Immediately after General Campbell 
became Chief of Ordnance, the Depart- 
ment experienced more changes in organ- 
ization and personnel than it had known 
during the preceding two and a half years. 
In the summer of 1942 there was not only 
the reshuffling of key men that normally 
accompanies a change in command, but 
also a series of changes in the structure of 
the Department. General Campbell, an 
energetic administrator, became Chief of 
Ordnance just as the full influence of the 
newly formed ASF was being felt and the 
Department was reaching the peak of its 

The two most important organizational 
changes were the formation of new divi- 
sions in the Washington office and the fur- 
ther decentralization of the Department's 
operations to field offices. General Camp- 
bell immediately created three new divi- 
sions — Military Training, Technical, and 
Parts Control — and placed them on the 
same administrative level as the Industrial 
Service and the Field Service. 35 ' He 
changed the internal organization of the 
two latter divisions by abolishing the posi- 
tions of assistant chiefs and decentralized 
the Department's operations by establish- 
ing the Office of Field Director of Ammu- 
nition Plants at St. Louis, seven Field 
Service zone headquarters, the Tank- 
Automotive Center in Detroit, and other 
suboffices in the field. 

General Campbell also appointed a 
special advisory staff of four prominent 
businessmen to consult with him on prob- 
lems of industrial production. The mem- 
bers of this staff were Bernard Baruch, 
chairman of the War Industries Board 
during the first World War; K. T. Keller, 
president of the Chrysler Corporation; 
Benjamin F. Fairless, president of U.S. 
Steel Corporation; and Lewis H. Brown, 


Chief of Ordnance, 1942-46. 

president of the Johns-Manville Corpora- 
tion. The creation of this staff, General 
Campbell wrote at the end of the war, 
"was intended to underscore again and to 
reaffirm in the most emphatic way the tre- 
mendous importance of Industry's role in 
the great, bewildering, onrushing arma- 
ment program." 40 Contrary to Campbell's 
wishes, however, the two statutory posi- 
tions of assistant chief of Ordnance were 
virtually abolished for the duration of the 
war by ASF headquarters in May 1942. 

*• By direction of ASF headquarters, the term "di- 
vision" was now applied to the major units formerly 
known as "services" to avoid confusion with the use 
of the word ''services" to describe all the elements 
within Army Service Forces, the "supply services" or 
the "technical services." 

10 Campbell, Industry-Ordnance Team, p. 10. For a 
contemporary account of the creation of the special 
advisory staff, see Army Ordnance, XXIII, 134 (1942), 

























o c u 
"5 5m 



C 0_c 

n J - o 

in D C 

= s c 

5 « ° 

□ am 

i ^2 


Small Arms 







When their terms expired at the end of 
that month, Generals Harris and McFar- 
land were transferred to other duties. 41 

In addition to these organizational 
changes, General Campbell ordered the 
reassignment of nearly all the top-ranking 
officers within the Department headquar- 
ters. To an increasing degree, authority 
was delegated directly from the Chief of 
Ordnance to the heads of the operating di- 
visions, and control of all these divisions 
was placed in new hands. Maj. Gen. 
ThomasJ. Hayes, an officer of outstand- 
ing production ability and experience who 
had served in the Office of the Under Sec- 
retary of War during 1941 and then briefly 
as chief of the Production Branch of ASF 
headquarters, succeeded General Harris 
as chief of the Industrial Division. Col. 
Harry R. Kutz, who had served as chief of 
the Fiscal Division since 1938, was pro- 
moted to the rank of brigadier general 
and appointed chief of the Field Service 
Division, succeeding General Crain. Gen- 
eral Barnes, who had served for two years 
as assistant chief for research and engineer- 
ing in the Industrial Service, became chief 
of the newly formed Technical Division. 
Of the other two new divisions, the Mili- 
tary Training Division was headed by 
Brig. Gen. Julian S. Hatcher, former com- 
manding general of the Ordnance Train- 
ing Center at Aberdeen, and the Parts 
Control Division by Brig. Gen. Rolland W. 
Case, former commanding general of 
Aberdeen Proving Ground. 

This brief summary suggests that the 
changes made during the first few weeks 
of General Campbell's term were so nu- 
merous and far reaching as to be almost 
revolutionary. The changes in personnel 
were indeed almost revolutionary, but the 
structural changes were less radical than 
they at first appeared. Most were the end 

products of a long evolutionary develop- 
ment. To persons intimately acquainted 
with the gradual unfolding of the Ord- 
nance program for war production, they 
came as no surprise. General Campbell 
even felt that "reorganization" was too 
strong a word to use in describing the 
steps taken during his first few weeks in of- 
fice, and preferred to say that it was sim- 
ply a matter of "making additions to the 
organization." 13 

Abolition of Assistant Chiefs 
of Industrial Service 

The evolutionary character of the 
events ofjune 1942 is well illustrated by 
the abolition of the positions of assistant 
chief that had been created in the Indus- 
trial Service jn 1940. This apparently 
sudden and drastic step was actually the 
culmination of a gradual development. In 
the fall of 1941, when General Campbell 
was serving as assistant chief for facilities, 
he had seen the need for his services de- 
cline as the job of constructing new manu- 
facturing and loading plants got well un- 
der way. In December this position was 
abolished, on Campbell's own recom- 
mendation, when he was appointed assist- 
ant chief for production. A short time later 
General Campbell concluded that the 
need for this position had also lessened be- 
cause the operating divisions of the Indus- 
trial Service had succeeded in building up 
competent staffs and were able to manage 
their jobs without the supervision of an as- 
sistant chief. Substantially the same was 
true of Colonel Quinton's duties as assist- 

41 General Harris became commanding general of 
Aberdeen Proving Ground. General McFarland re- 
verted to his permanent rank of colonel and became 
commanding officer of the Springfield Armory. 
Ltr, Campbell to author, 29 Apr 49. OHF. 



ant chief for purchasing and General 
Somers' duties as assistant chief for in- 

The decisive factor that brought the 
"Assistant Chiefs Era" to an end was Gen- 
eral Campbell's conviction — shared by 
General Hayes, the new chief of the Indus- 
trial Division — that the positions of assist- 
ant chief violated fundamental principles 
of sound organization. "I did not want in 
the organization any 'Vice Presidents' — 
men who were without real authority and 
responsibility," General Campbell wrote, 
"I wanted the organization to be one of 
direct responsibility. If performance was 
lacking, then I could accurately and 
quickly assess responsibility for non-per- 
formance." 44 

After the elimination of the assistant 
chiefs, a Production Service Branch was 
formed to absorb the remaining functions 
of the assistant chief for production and, 
later on, to assume responsibility for ad- 
ministration of the Controlled Materials 
Plan for the Department. 4 ' The remaining 
functions of the assistant chief for purchas- 
ing were taken over by the various staff 
branches, particularly by the Legal 
Branch. Supervision of inspection activi- 
ties was assigned to inspection sections 
within the operating branches of the In- 
dustrial Division, and these branches were 
placed on the same organizational level as 
the production and engineering sections 
to guard against the danger that quality- 
would be sacrificed to achieve quantity 

Field Service Division 

The Field Service Division also experi- 
enced an organizational overhauling dur- 
ing June and July of 1942. General Camp- 
bell ended the six-months-old experiment 

with the assistant chiefs of the Field Serv- 
ice and eliminated two of the divisions 
that had been created during the preced- 
ing two years — the Military Organization 
and Publications Division, which became 
a part of the Executive Branch, and the 
Bomb Disposal Division, which was com- 
bined with the Ammunition Supply 
Branch. The number of main divisions of 
the service was thus reduced to five — an 
Executive Branch, a newly created Plans 
and Operations Branch, and the three op- 
erating branches. Ammunition Supply, 
General Supply, and Maintenance. 4fi 

This reshuffling of responsibility oc- 
curred to a large extent because the new 
Plans and Operations Branch took over 
depot administration and other overhead 
duties affecting more than one branch. It 
absorbed the responsibilities and person- 
nel formerly assigned to the Transporta- 
tion and Facilities Divisions and consoli- 
dated them with duties that had been 
performed by the assistant chief for plans 
and statistics, Colonel Steese, who became 
chief of the new branch. In this way, all 
phases of depot administration including 
the construction and maintenance of 
buildings, the supervision of personnel, the 
control of shipments to and from the de- 
pots, and the gathering of statistics on 
available stocks were co-ordinated through 
a single staff branch. 47 

3 The statements in this paragraph are based on 
interviews with Generals Hayes, Lewis, and Quin- 
ton. and correspondence with Generals Campbell 
and Somers. For discussion of the elimination of 
General Barnes' position as assistan t chief for re- 
search and engineering, see |Ch. VIlT] below. 

" (1) Ltr, Campbell to author, 7 Sep 49, OHF. 
(2) Intervs with Gen Hayes, summer of 1949. 
Campbell, op. cit., p. 177. 

(,i (1) ODO 291, 8 Jul 42, OHF. (2) FS Office 
Memo 55, 25 Jun 42, OHF. 

17 Hist of FS, Plans and Opns Br, Vol. I, Pt. 1, 



Military Training Division 

Because of the rapid expansion of the 
Ordnance training mission, General 
Campbell established a separate Military 
Training Division in June 1942. Since 
enactment of the Selective Service Act in 
September 1940, the Department had 
been called upon to train an ever increas- 
ing number of officers and enlisted men 
at the Ordnance school at Aberdeen Prov- 
ing Ground. Two additional training or- 
ganizations were established at Aberdeen 
to carry on a well-rounded program — the 
Ordnance Replacement Training Center 
and the Ordnance Unit Training Center. 
To administer the three training units, and 
to supervise the training of military per- 
sonnel at various civilian institutions, the 
Ordnance Training Center had been 
formed on New Year's Day, 1941, with 
headquarters at Aberdeen. 48 In establish- 
ing the Military Training Division, Gen- 
eral Campbell converted the Ordnance 
Training Center into a full-fledged divi- 
sion on a par with the Industrial, Field 
Service, and other divisions of the head- 
quarters. 4S To avoid any break in the con- 
tinuity of command, the Military Training 
Division was placed under the direction 
of the former chief of the Ordnance Train- 
ing Center, General Hatcher. The organ- 
ization of the new division was patterned 
closely after that of the training directo- 
rate at ASF headquarters. 

Unlike the other divisions in the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, all of which had their 
headquarters in the Pentagon, the Mili- 
tary Training Division at first had its head- 
quarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, 
where most of the training was carried on. 
To maintain contact with the other divi- 
sions of the Department and with ASF 
headquarters, a Liaison Branch was estab- 

lished in Washington. Placing the Mili- 
tary Training Division headquarters at 
Aberdeen was the first major attempt to 
decentralize the Ordnance Department, 
but it proved unsuccessful and it was 
abandoned within a few weeks. It soon 
became apparent, for example, that the 
large volume of directives and requests for 
information from ASF could never be 
handled fast enough through the Liaison 
Branch to satisfy ASF headquarters. The 
announcement in July that the Quarter- 
master Motor Transport Service was soon 
to be transferred to the Ordnance Depart- 
ment, along with a large-scale training 
program for automotive mechanics, fur- 
ther complicated the situation. The train- 
ing section of the Motor Transport Service 
was in Washington — as, in fact, were the 
training sections of all the other supply 
services — and its schools were widely scat- 
tered. In mid-August General Campbell 
therefore ordered the Military Training 
Division to move its headquarters to the 
Pentagon. From that vantage point it 
directed the training of thousands of offi- 
cers and enlisted men at training centers 
in all parts of the country. 30 

Parts Control Division 

The importance of administrative ma- 
chinery for handling matters relating to 
spare parts had been recognized early in 
the defense period by the Ordnance 
Department. In November 1940 General 
Wesson had appointed a permanent board 
of officers to determine the types and quan- 

ls (1) ODO 151. 26 Dec 40, OHF. (2) Interv with 
Gen Hatcher, 1 1 Jul 49. See also Gen J. S. Hatcher, 
"The Ordnance Training Center," Arm}' Ordnance, 
XXI, 126 (1941), 625. 

'* ODO 285, 26 Jun 42, OHF. 

Intervs with Gen Hatcher and Col Herman U. 
Wagner, summer 1949. 



tities of spare parts to be ordered when 
large-scale production contracts were let. ' 1 
The board consisted of the chiefs of the 
Field Service, the Fiscal Division, the War 
Plans Division, and the assistant chief of 
Industrial Service for engineering. Within 
the various subdivisions of Field Service 
and Industrial Service spare parts sections 
were created to maintain lists of essential 
spare parts, arrange for the distribution of 
parts among the depots, and generally 
supervise spare-parts production and pro- 

Toward the end of 1941 it became 
apparent that this arrangement had not 
yielded altogether satisfactory results. By 
the very nature of their activities, the 
Industrial and Field Services were con- 
stantly at loggerheads on the subject of 
spare parts. The primary concern of the 
Industrial Service was to produce com- 
pleted items of equipment, and it was 
under constant pressure from higher head- 
quarters to get maximum production. The 
primary concern of the Field Service, on 
the other hand, was to build up stocks of 
replacement parts for maintenance work 
in the field. Any reconciliation of these two 
missions involved compromise, and there 
was no recognized objective standard of 
spare-parts requirements on which to base 
such a compromise. '" The problem finally 
became so serious that the Control Divi- 
sion of ASF headquarters made a special 
study of it, and the Ordnance Department 
on its own initiative called in experts from 
the General Motors Overseas Operations 
to investigate the matter and make recom- 
mendations.™ The reports of both groups 
emphasized the inadequacy of the co-ordi- 
nation effected by the Spare Parts Board 
and the various spare parts sections. "The 
major problem," the ASF Control Division 
reported, "is that ten separate offices deal 

with various aspects of Spare Parts, and no 
one is effectively coordinating the entire 
operation." 1 To remedy this situation, the 
General Motors group recommended that 
the Spare Parts Board be abolished and 
that a "Spare Parts Service" be established 
in the Ordnance Department on the same 
level as the Industrial Service and Field 
Service. This recommendation was in 
accord with the spare parts organizations 
that prevailed in industry. The proposed 
service was to formulate spare parts poli- 
cies and, when they were approved by the 
Chief of Ordnance, to be responsible for 
their execution. Acting on this recommen- 
dation, General Campbell on 26 June 
ordered the formation of a Parts Control 
Division as one of the six main units of the 
Ordnance Department. lS General Case, 
formerly commanding general of Aber- 
deen Proving Ground, was brought in to 

~~ ^^Ol-cI SO 263. 7 Nov 40, DRB AGO. The organ- 
ization and functions of the board were described in 
detail in Ordnance Office Memo 510, 21 Jan 41, 
which remained in effect, with minor changes, until 
rescinded bv Ordnance Office Memo 618, 30 Apr 
42, DRB AGO. 

Intervs with Gen Harris, Gen Crain, and other 
officers, summer 1950. 

r " (1) ASF Control Div Rpt 26, Notes on Organi- 
zation and Operation of the Tank and Combat Ve- 
hicle Division of the Ordnance Department, ASF 
Control Div files, DRB AGO. (2) General Motors 
Overseas Operations, May 1942, General Survey of 
the Organization. Functions and Operations of the 
Ordnance Department (3 vols.), OHF. 

See also Lawrence S. Barroll. Study of U. S. Army- 
Ordnance Department Spare Parts Procedure, 8 Oct 
40, PSP 63, Exhibit 1; and Lawrence S. Barroll, Sur- 
vey of Ordnance Spare Parts Supply, 26 Dec 42. 
PSP 63, Exhibit 2. Both in OHF. 

ASF Control Div Rpt 26, cited n. 53(1). 

The report of the General Motors survey included 
an organization chart that illustrated this dispersion 
of spare-part functions throughout the Department. 
General Survcv of the Organization .... Vol. II. 
p. 31, OHF. 

ODO 285, 26 Jun 42. OHF. The new division 
was established in June on verbal orders from Gen- 
eral Campbell. 



be chief of the new division. Some of his 
staff came from the spare parts sections 
that were to be taken over by the Parts 
Control Division, while others came from 
among the General Motors experts who 
had made the survey. 

Neither the order creating the new divi- 
sion nor the General Motors report went 
into any detail as to how the new division 
was to function. General Case and his staff 
were therefore at once faced with the task 
of determining their operating procedures. 
A difference of opinion soon emerged 
among the personnel of the new division 
as to whether it should take over all opera- 
tions bearing on spare parts or should 
merely set up controls to see that those 
responsible for such operations actually 
produced the desired results. Further, the 
General Motors people, who were experi- 
enced in peacetime supply problems of the 
automobile industry, did not see eye to eye 
with Ordnance officers who were familiar 
with the much different problems of war- 
time military supply.™ In the many con- 
ferences on these subjects held during the 
month of July, the wisdom of creating a 
Parts Control Division was seriously ques- 

General Case finally came to the con- 
clusion toward the end of the month that 
the establishment of the division had been 
a mistake. Feeling that he had been put in 
the position of having responsibility with- 
out full authority, he recommended that 
the division be abolished, and that the 
spare parts problem be given to the Field 
Service. 57 General Campbell reluctantly 
accepted General Case's recommendation 
and abolished the Parts Control Division 
on 28 July — just four weeks after its cre- 
ation. Responsibility for parts control was 
then turned over to the Field Service Divi- 
sion. The Spare Parts Board was re-estab- 

lished with essentially the same responsi- 
bilities it had had before the creation of the 
Parts Control Division, but its membership 
was now limited to two officers — the chiefs 
of the Industrial and the Field Service 
Divisions. 5t< 

With the elimination of Parts Control, 
the number of divisions was reduced to 
four — Industrial Service, Field Service, 
Technical, and Military Training. In terms 
of personnel and funds, every one of these 
divisions was many times larger than the 
entire Ordnance Department had been 
before the war. They had budgets running 
into the hundreds of millions of dollars and 
directed the activities of many thousands 
of officers, enlisted men, and civilian 
workers. Of their relationship to each 
other and to the Chief of Ordnance, Gen- 
eral Campbell wrote: 

These divisions were largely autonomous. 
They were tied together as to the common 
policy and as to inter-division relations by me 
and my immediate personal staff. The heads 
of each of the divisions reported directly to 
me, as did also the beads of the Personnel, 
Fiscal, and Legal Branches. I tried to give 
each of them full authority, and I also tried 
to be completely frank with them at all times 
so that they, acting in a given situation, could 
have the maximum background on which to 
base an action. I tried to impress upon them 
that the more decisions they gave, within 
general broad policy limitations, the more 
value to me they were. They were at all times 
to keep me advised of matters which their 
common sense indicated I should know; 
equally, their common sense was exercised to 

r> " (1) Intervs, Aug-Nov 49. with Gen Case, and 
Col W. F. Sadtler, Production Control Off Parts Con- 
trol Div. (2) Key Pers Rpt, 1945, Col L.J. Mcyns, 
Exec Off Parts Control Div, OHF. 

Interv with Gen Case, 22 Nov 49. 

ss Change 1, Ord Office Memo 618, 12 Aug 42. 
The Parts Control Div was abolished by Change 1, 
ODO 285, 28 Jul 42, OHF. For further discussion of 
the spare parts problem see Thomson and Mayo, 
IProcurement and Supply of Munitions,! MS, OIIF. 



keep unimportant things away from me 
. . . . My job as I saw it was to be the Chief 
of Ordnance and to be as free as time would 
permit, to think and to spend time in the 
selection of men. In practically every case I 
was able to fill the principal positions with 
men who could do the job far better than I 
could. r> " 

The "Front Office Team" 

In the new administration, General 
Campbell's right-hand man was Colonel 
Raaen, his executive officer, but there were 
also several assistants who handled special 
assignments. Lt. Col. Paul M. Seleen, who 
had served with General Wesson as assist- 
ant for matters pertaining to Field Service 
and research and development, continued 
in this position on General Campbell's 
staff, with the important additional duty 
of heading the War Aid Branch. Lt. Col. 
Everett P. Russell, a consulting engineer in 
civilian life, handled matters concerning 
the Industrial Service, and Col. Herbert 
R. White, a former General Motors execu- 
tive, served as a "trouble shooter" on 
industrial production matters. Lt. Col. Leo 
A. Codd, the executive vice president of 
the Army Ordnance Association and editor 
of the magazine Army Ordnance, handled 
the public relations activities of the Depart- 
ment. These four officers, with Colonel 
Raaen and Lt. Col. Thomas Moore, aide 
to General Campbell, made up the "front 
office team" during nearly all of General 
Campbell's term. (;() 

Staff Branches 

In addition to the changes on the oper- 
ating division level, several were made 
during June among the staff branches of 

the former General Office. A Control 
Branch, an Explosives Safety Branch, and 
a War Aid Branch were established, and 
the Fiscal and Legal Division was split 
into the Fiscal Branch and the Legal 
Branch. At the same time an Ordnance 
Department Board was created to study 
Field Service operations. Most of these 
changes were results of developments 
within the Department that had been 
gradually unfolding during the preceding 
months, but the establishment of the Con- 
trol Branch and the W T ar Aid Branch were 
specifically directed by ASF headquarters. 

The Control Branch was a new and 
unfamiliar piece of administrative machin- 
ery that was virtually forced upon Ord- 
nance by ASF, and was not welcomed by 
officers in the Department. 61 With the 
formation of ASF in March, a Control 
Division had been set up as a part of Gen- 
eral Somervell's staff, and the proposal 
was advanced that corresponding control 
units be formed in all of the supply services. 
Because of the reluctance to accept this 
innovation, no final action was taken "on 
the matter for over three months. 

When the Ordnance Control Branch 
was finally established at the end of June, 
it was placed under the direction of Col. 
Clarence E. Davies, former executive offi- 
cer to General Lewis in the Industrial 

" Ltr. Campbell to author, 29 Apr 49. OHF. 

s " (1) Intcrvs with Cols Raaen. Sclccn, and Codd, 
and other officers. f2) Correspondence with Camp- 
bell, 1949-50, OHF. 

,n See, for example, comments on the Ordnance 
Control Branch by O. A. Gottschalk, special assistant 
to the chief of the ASF Control Division, in November 
1942: "The mission of the Control Branch is not fully 
understood and appreciated by heads of operating 
divisions. This is indicated by resistance to studies 
being made by the Control Branch." Rpt 54, ASF 
Control Div files, DRB AGO. The same view has 
also been expressed to the author by many officers of 
the Ordnance Department during interviews. 



Service." Steps were then taken to recruit 
a competent staff of officers and civilians, 
but progress was slow. 153 The new branch 
was charged with broad responsibilities for 
obtaining information regarding the effi- 
ciency of operation of all elements of the 
Department, recommending changes in 
organization, procedures, and policies, and 
managing statistical and reporting activi- 
ties. Actually, the Control Branch seldom 
went beyond more or less routine functions 
and never achieved the position of influ- 
ence that ASF wished it to have. In terms 
of initiative, rate of progress, and ability to 
get its recommendations put into effect, 
the Ordnance Control Branch was 
repeatedly given a low rating, as com- 
pared with similar branches in other serv- 
ices, by the ASF Control Di vision. M 

Much of the difficulty ASF experienced 
with the Control Branch sprang from a 
misunderstanding within Ordnance of the 
functions of such a branch. The name itself 
was not accurately descriptive. General 
Somervell did not intend that the ASF 
Control Division should actually exercise 
control over day-to-day operations, but 
only that it should be an investigative and 
fact-finding agency to study organiza- 
tional matters and help him keep informed 
about rates of progress, or lack of progress, 
in the many diverse activities of his com- 
mand. 83 General Wesson, taking a literal 
interpretation of the name, had assumed 
that the Control Division was to be an 
agency that would actually exercise con- 
trol over operating personnel. When first 
approached by ASF representatives on this 
matter in 1942, he is reported to have 
declared that Ordnance did not need any 
such unit because he himself exercised full 
control of the Department. Much of the 
friction that subsequently developed be- 
tween ASF and Ordnance stemmed from 

this brusque refusal by General Wesson to 
consider the need for an Ordnance Con- 
trol Branch. General Campbell, though 
less hostile toward the proposal, never had 
much enthusiasm for it except in terms of 
making organizational charts and prepar- 
ing statistical studies."" 

In September 1942, following a survey 
of the existing administrative machinery 
for handling lend-lease transactions, ASF 
directed that a war aid branch or division 
be established within each of the supply 
services. 67 A Defense Aid Section, headed 
by Colonel Seleen, was already in existence 
in Ordnance, as part of the Executive 
Branch. To comply with the ASF directive, 
this section was simply renamed the War 
Aid Branch and given status equal to that 
of the other staff branches. The War Aid 
Branch (later redesignated International 
Aid Division) always remained a staff unit 
and never grew to large proportions 
because the basic policy of the Ordnance 
Department was to handle war aid trans- 
actions through the existing organization — 
procurement through the Industrial Serv- 

62 (1) ODO 285, 26 Jun 42, OHF. (2) Hist of Con- 
trol Div, OHF. (3) Correspondence and intcrv with 
Col Davies, OHF. In civilian life, Colonel Davies had 
been secretary of the American Society of Mechanical 

ri A critical review of the Ordnance Control 
Branch, including the slowness of recruiting, appears 
in the ASF Control Division report cited in In. oil 

,iH Summary of Comparative Evaluations of Control 
Offices . . . , 15 Mar 43, Cabinet 12, ASF Control 
Div File 321 (Ord). DRB AGO. 

•» Memo, CG SOS to Staff Divisions, 27 Mar 42, 
sub: Control, OO 020/29, DRB AGO. See also Hist 
of ASF Control Div, ASF Control Div files, DRB 

Intervs with Gen Harris, Col Davies, and Col 
Johnston, summer of 1949. 

1)7 Memo, CG SOS for Chiefs of Supply Services, 8 
Sep 42, sub: Responsibility of Supply Services for 
Accomplishing Aid to United Nations, SPX 400.3295 
(9-6-42), DRB AGO. 



ice and distribution and shipping through 
the Field Service. 08 

Before the summer of 1942 the legal 
functions of the Department had been per- 
formed in three separate sections created 
to serve special needs. General responsi- 
bility for advising the Chief of Ordnance 
on legal matters had traditionally been 
assigned to the Fiscal Division. Legal prob- 
lems relating to patent applications had 
been handled separately by a section of the 
Technical Staff. A third legal section, 
formed by General Campbell in 1940 
when he was assistant chief of the Indus- 
trial Service for facilities, had handled the 
work connected with the construction and 
operation of scores of government-owned, 
contractor-operated plants.'"' With the 
armament program in full swing by the 
summer of 1942, the volume and complex- 
ity of the legal work relating to contracts, 
patents, taxes, price ceilings, and renego- 
tiation of contracts mounted steadily. Gen- 
eral Campbell therefore named Lt. Col. 
Irving A. Duffy, former assistant chief of 
the Fiscal and Legal Division, chief of a 
separate Legal Branch and gave him full 
authority to handle all the legal work of 
the Department. 

District Offices 

Another phase of the June 1942 reorgan- 
ization was the change in the administra- 
tion of the district offices. The volume of 
business handled in the districts rose to 
tremendous proportions during the spring 
of 1942, and it became apparent that the 
civilian chiefs, most of whom were promi- 
nent industrialists serving on a volunteer 
basis, could not devote their full time and 
energy to district affairs. General Campbell 
therefore assigned experienced Ordnance 
officers to be chiefs of the districts and the 

former civilian heads, now relieved of the 
day-to-day operating responsibilities, be- 
came top-level policy advisers. Of the 
appointments to the larger districts, Gen- 
eral Lewis was assigned to Boston, General 
Minton to Pittsburgh, Brig. Gen. Walter 
P. Boatwright to New York, Colonel 
Quinton to Detroit, Col. Guy H. Drewry 
to Springfield, Col. David N. Hauseman 
to Philadelphia, and Col. Merle H. Davis 
to St. Louis. 70 Later, as demands for Regu- 
lar officers had to be met for service in the 
field and elsewhere, many of these men 
were replaced by Reserve officers or by 
leading local industrialists. 

At the same time, a uniform organiza- 
tion for all districts was prescribed, a plan 
that had been under study for several 
months by a board of officers headed by 
Col. Fred A. McMahon. Before this time 
the districts had been developing rather 
diverse structures. In 1935, when most dis- 
trict offices were staffed by only a volun- 
teer civilian chief, one Ordnance officer, 
and a secretary, Ordnance had published 
a model for district wartime organization, 
but it had not been made mandatory as its 
authors felt that each district chief should 
have broad discretionary powers in devel- 
oping his organization. The prescribed 
pattern of June 1942 paralleled that of the 
Industrial Division and thus facilitated 
communication between the districts and 
the Washington headquarters. 71 

After he had been in office for eight 
months, General Campbell wrote to ASF 

Interv with Col Soleen, 13 Sep 49. (2) 
Internal Aid, Ord, I, Ch. 3, OHF. 

B " Leon Malman, Origin and Early History of the 
Legal Division, OHF. See also ODO 122, 31 Jul 39, 
and ODO 215, 10 Jan 42, OHF. 

Directory of Ordnance Establishments, 10 Aug 
42, OHF. 

71 (1) Cir Ltr 496, Dist Control Div, 30Jun 42, OO 
381/81236, DRB AGO. (2) Ann Rpt CofOrd. 1943, 
p. 22. 



describing the progress the Department 
had made since the start of the defense 
period, and the nature of the organiza- 
tional problems that had been faced. 7 '- He 
pointed out that by December 1942 the 
dollar value of Ordnance production had 
risen to something over one billion dollars 
a month, and contrasted that figure with 
the meagre appropriations available to the 
Department during the 1920's and 1930's. 
He conceded that there had been mistakes, 
false starts, inefficiency, and some duplica- 
tion of effort. No organization could have 
expanded as fast as Ordnance did in the 
hectic atmosphere of wartime Washington 
with anything like normal peacetime effi- 
ciency. But, wrote Campbell, the faults 
were not all within Ordnance — the top- 
heavy administrative structure of the War 
Department itself was a serious handicap 
to the operating agencies. He referred to 
the "multiplicity of layers above the Serv- 
ices" and cited, as one example, the large 
number of boards, offices, and commis- 
sions in the War Department that dealt 
with the single problem of personnel. "The 
result of this," he declared, "is confusion, 
uncertainty, and delay in putting our own 
organization on the efficient basis that the 
importance of our work demands. We wel- 
come the opportunity to demonstrate how 
we can do a better job with less people. We 
have much yet to do. Much is being done. 
Our work will be materially aided if the 
multiplicity of reviewing and inspecting 
agencies can be reduced. " 7S 

Decentralization of the Ordnance 

Throughout World War II the Ord- 
nance Department followed its traditional 
policy of decentralization to reduce the 
volume of administrative work that had to 

flow through the office of the Chief of Ord- 
nance. Long before Pearl Harbor General 
Wesson had delegated a large measure of 
responsibility to existing Ordnance field 
agencies, and had transferred various 
headquarters sections from Washington to 
other parts of the country. When General 
Campbell became Chief of Ordnance in 
June he entered enthusiastically into the 
task of further decentralizing the Depart- 
ment and soon made Ordnance the leader 
among the supply services in delegating 
responsibility to field headquarters and in 
moving units out of Washington. 74 In 
explaining his policy of decentralization to 
his staff, General Campbell frequently 
quoted the old adage. "If you want to eat 
an elephant, first cut him up into small 
pieces." It was his firm conviction that the 
multibillion-dollar Ordnance program was 
far too big and too complicated to be suc- 
cessfully administered from a single head- 
quarters in Washington and that it had to 
be "cut up into small pieces." 7 " 

Field Director of Ammunition Plants 

In applying this principle during the 
summer of 1942, General Campbell estab- 
lished the office of Field Director of 
Ammunition Plants (FDAP) in St. Louis 
to administer a group of about 60 
government-owned, contractor- operated 
(GOCO) plants producing artillery ammu- 
nition under cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts. 

7 " Pers ltr, Gen Campbell to Maj Gen Wilhelm D. 
Styer, 10 Feb 43. OO 230/7603, DRB AGO. 
™ Ibid. 

74 Memo, CofOrd for Gen Hayes, 7 Oct 42. This 
memo reports General Somervell's statement at a staff 
conference praising the Ordnance Department's 
decentralization. See also memo, Col Robinson for 
CG SOS, 28 Nov 42, sub: GOCO Orel Plants, ASF 
Control Div files, DRB AGO. 

l: ' Campbell, Industry-Ordnance Team, p. 56. 



St. Louis was chosen as the location for the 
FDAP office because it had excellent rail- 
road and airplane connections with the 
ammunition plants and was "the natural 
hub of this three-billion-dollar wheel."™ 
Office space was leased in the basement of 
the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Lindell 
Boulevard, a convenient location next 
door to the office of the St. Louis Ordnance 

To staff the new headquarters twenty- 
five officers and thirty civilians, who had 
served as contract negotiators and admin- 
istrators in the Ammunition Division of 
the Industrial Service, were transferred to 
St. Louis. Col. Theodore C. Gerber, an 
Ordnance officer with extensive experience 
in commanding GOCO plants, was 
appointed field director and was made 
responsible to the chief of the Ammunition 
Branch of the Industrial Division. 77 The 
task of the FDAP was to analyze and 
co-ordinate the operations of the various 
ammunition plants under its jurisdiction, 
regulate the flow of raw material and parts 
to the plants, and help each contractor to 
benefit from the experience of the others. 
The type of cost-plus-fixed-fee contract 
under which the plants were operating was 
comparatively new and required close 
FDAP supervision to get all the contractors 
to adopt standard procedures for reporting 
costs, preparing statistical data, and using 
manpower efficiently. As the functions of 
the FDAP were gradually extended to 
include supervision of ammunition loading 
plants, the staff increased in size until it 
numbered more than 500 officers, includ- 
ing officers assigned to plants as well as 
those in the field director's office. In 
December 1943 Colonel Gerber was given 
the additional duty of serving as chief of 
the Safety and Security Branch, which had 
its headquarters in Chicago. This step 

brought about a closer co-ordination of the 
efforts of those who were responsible for 
production and those who were concerned 
with matters of safety and security. 

The Industrial Division established four 
other suboffices during the latter half of 
1942. The first of these was the Small 
Arms Ammunition Suboffice, formed by 
transferring the Ammunition unit of the 
Small Arms Branch to Philadelphia and 
assigning to it responsibility for adminis- 
tering the contracts at twelve GOCO 
plants manufacturing small arms ammu- 
nition. 78 A second suboffice was established 
in Philadelphia at the same time by trans- 
ferring to that city the Inspection Gage 
Section of the Production Service Branch 
to handle all matters pertaining to the pro- 
curement of inspection gages and the 
expansion of gage facilities. 79 A third sub- 
office of the Industrial Division, established 
at Rock Island Arsenal late in August, was 
assigned engineering and inspection func- 
tions for all types of field carriages, and in 
December a suboffice for mobile artillery 
was also established at Rock Island. 

76 History of Field Director of Ammunition Plants 
(hereafter cited as Hist of FDAP), OHF. See also 
ODO 305. 1 6 Jul 42, OHF, and Campbell, op. cit., pp. 

77 Col. T. C. Gerber, "Ammunition Production," 
Army Ordnance, XXIV, 137 (1943), 305. This article, 
written by the field director, describes the origin and 
function of the FDAP and contains a chart showing 
the principal divisions of the office. A later article by 
Colonel Gerber on the FDAP appeared in Army Ord- 
nance, XXVIII, 149 (1945), 237. 

7S (1) ODO 303, 14 Jul 42 : OIIF. (2) Memo, Col 
Robinson for CG SOS, 28 Nov 42, sub: GOCO Ord- 
nance Plants, ASF Control Div files, DRB AGO. The 
Small Arms Ammunition Suboffice was located at 
Frankford Arsenal for a short time before being trans- 
ferred to Philadelphia. See Hist of Small Arms Div. 
IndServ, Vol. I, OHF. 

7! ' ODO 303, 14 Jul 42, OHF. Both of the Philadel- 
phia suborfiees were attached to Frankford Arsenal 
for purposes of administration. 



The Tank- Automotive Center 

On 17 July 1942, the day the FDAP was 
established in St. Louis, General Somervell 
issued an order transferring to the Ord- 
nance Department within six weeks all the 
automotive activities of the Quartermaster 
Corps except operating units. 80 This action 
was taken in order to centralize in the 
Ordnance Department control over the 
development, production, distribution, and 
maintenance of vehicles, which had many 
common elements — engines, transmissions, 
and axles — and was intended to eliminate 
duplication of effort by the two supply 
services in dealing with the automotive 
industry. To the Department's traditional 
responsibility for combat vehicles such as 
tanks and armored cars, was now added 
the responsibility for trucks, passenger cars, 
ambulances, jeeps, and other types of 
transport vehicles. 

In terms of organization, the order of 17 
July meant that the civilian and military 
personnel of the Motor Transport Service 
(MTS), and all Quartermaster motor 
bases, motor supply depots, and schools 
for automobile mechanics were to be trans- 
ferred to the Ordnance Department. The 
administration of more than 4,000 con- 
tracts with a total value of nearly three 
billion dollars was taken over by Ord- 
nance. It was by far the largest single addi- 
tion to the Department made during the 
war and, because of its magnitude, was a 
gradual process of absorption. 81 

To manage this enormous automotive 
production and distribution program, the 
Department made a move that one ob- 
server called "the boldest stroke of decen- 
tralization the country has yet seen in this 
war." 8 - The Tank-Automotive Center in 
Detroit was established in the heart of the 
automobile manufacturing industry, and 

to it was delegated a large degree of 
authority and responsibility. The new 
headquarters was formed during Septem- 
ber and October by moving the Motor 
Transport Service and the Tank and Com- 
bat Vehicle Division from their Washing- 
ton offices to the Union Guardian Build- 
ing in Detroit, along with other branches 
of the Ordnance Department concerned 
with tank and automotive matters. 

The main reasons for this action were 
General Campbell's concern lest there be 
too great a concentration of Ordnance 
functions in Washington and his desire to 
establish the closest possible relations with 
the automobile industry in the Detroit 
area. Office space in Washington was at a 
premium in 1942, as was housing for both 
military and civilian personnel. Agencies 
of the federal government had been urged 
to decentralize their operations wherever 
possible. General Somervell was keenly in- 
terested in decentralization within the 
technical services, and the Control Divi- 
sion of his headquarters had recommended 
transfer of the Tank and Combat Vehicle 
Division to Detroit or some other city. All 
of these factors had a bearing on the de- 
cision finally reached in August to estab- 
lish the T-AC in Detroit. 83 

Brig. Gen. Donald Armstrong took the 

Ml Ltr, CG SOS to CofOrd, 17 Jul 42, sub: Transfer 
of . . . Motor Transportation . . . ,00 020/47, 
DRB AGO. See also WD Cir 245, par. 1 0, 25 Jul 42, 
as amended by WD Cir 267, 8 Aug 42. 

1,1 ODO 315, 28 Jul 42, OHF. For a list of installa- 
tions transferred, sec ltr, CofOrd to CG SOS, 7 Aug 
42. sub: Redesignation of Certain Installations, OO 
029/69, DRB AGO. 

Brig. Gen. A. R. Glancy, "Integration for Pro- 
duction. Industrial Committees as an Aid to Manu- 
facture." Arm) Ordnance, XXIV, 136 (1943), 72. 

s ! (1) ASF Control Div Rpt 26, Notes on Organiza- 
tion and Operations of the Tank and Combat Vehicle 
Division of the Ordnance Department, ASF Control 
Div files, DRB AGO. (2) Intervs with Gens Christmas, 
Glancv, Armstrong, and Hayes, summer 1949. 












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first steps to establish the T-AC in August, 
and was joined a short time later by Brig. 
Gen. John K. Christmas. S4 In September, 
Mr. A. R. Glancy accepted a reserve com- 
mission as brigadier general and became 
deputy chief of Ordnance in charge of the 
tank-automotive activities of the Depart- 
ment in Detroit.* ' General Campbell se- 
lected these three officers for the Detroit 
headquarters because each had special 
qualifications for the job, which was partly 
industrial and partly military in nature. 
General Glancy, the chief of the T-AC, 
was an industrialist with experience in 
military procurement and production 
problems. General Armstrong, deputy 
chief of the center, was a Regular Army 
officer with experience in procurement, 
distribution, and supply. General Christ- 
mas, who had devoted most of his military 
career to tank design and engineering, be- 
came the chief engineer of the T-AC. But 
this arrangement proved to be unsound 
and was soon abandoned. As one officer 
commented, it provided "too many chiefs 
and not enough Indians." The situation 
was further complicated by the fact that 
Generals Glancy and Armstrong were not 
suited by temperament and background to 
pull together in the same harness. Within 
a few months, General Armstrong was 
named chief of the Ordnance Training 
Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground and 
General Glancy was left in full command 
of the center, with General Christmas as 
his deputy. 81 ' 

Under these circumstances, the T-AC 
was naturally beset with many adminis- 
trative difficulties during the first few 
months of its existence. It was impossible 
to establish such a large headquarters, and 
at the same time integrate the Motor 
Transport Service with Ordnance, without 
going through a shakedown period. Dur- 

ing these trying months, many criticisms of 
the organization and functioning of the 
T-AC came to General Campbell from 
ASF, particularly of the organizational 
structure and lines of authority. But by the 
first anniversary of Pearl Harbor — just 
three months after the creation of the 
T-AC — General Glancy was able to re- 
port: "Now that all our organization 
charts, manning charts, flow charts, and 
job sheets have been written, I doubt if 
there is another organization in the whole 
Army whose lines of authority and scope 
of activities are as clearly defined." 87 

One feature of the T-AC organization 
adopted by General Glancy was the staff 
of five directors who stood between the 
chiefs of the operating branches and the 
commanding general. Each director was 
assigned to a product specialty — tanks and 
combat vehicles, transport vehicles, parts 
and supplies, tools and equipment, and 
rubber products. Each was an expert in 
his own field, and each was given broad 
responsibility for supervising and co-ordi- 
nating the work of the appropriate sec- 
tions of the operating branches. The 
Director of Transport Vehicles, for ex- 
ample, who was a Motor Transport Serv- 
ice officer of long experience, worked 
closely with the transport vehicle sections 
of the Development, Engineering, Manu- 
facturing, Supply, and Maintenance 

s4 (l) Intervs with Gen Armstrong and Gen 
Christmas, Oct-Nov 49. (2) Pcrs ltr. Gen Campbell to 
Gen Armstrong 20 Aug 42, OO 020/84, DRB AGO. 

" ' Intervs with Gen Glancy, Oct-Nov 49. For a 
detailed report on General Glancy's appointment, see 
"The Tank-Automotive Center," Army Ordnance, 
XXIII. 135 (1942), 501. 

(1) Ltr, Campbell to author. 15 Jul 49. OHF. (2) 
Intervs with Gens Glancy, Armstrong, and Christmas, 
summer 1 949. 

* ; 2d Ind, Glancy to Campbell, 7 Dec 42, on memo. 
Somervell for Campbell. 24 Nov 42, OO 023/144, 



Branches, while the Director of Tanks and 
Combat Vehicles supervised the combat 
vehicle sections of the branches. 88 Ap- 
pointment of these directors was an 
attempt on General Clancy's part to 
create an executive committee for the 
T-AC. He felt that any organization as 
large as the Detroit center, or as large as 
the Office, Chief of Ordnance, in Wash- 
ington, needed the kind of executive com- 
mittee found in industry — a small group 
of mature, highly qualified men who 
would spend their full time watching the 
whole operation, advising on major policy 
decisions, and handling major problems as 
they came up. But, rinding this concept 
foreign to traditional Army organization, 
he never put it into full operation in 
Detroit. 8 " 

By the end of June 1943 ill health forced 
General Glancy to relinquish his duties at 
the center, and General Boatwright, chief 
of the New York Ordnance District, was 
appointed to succeed him. 9 " Within the 
following three months the new com- 
manding general made a number of 
organizational changes, most important of 
which were the elimination of the directors 
and the establishment of an Operations 
Planning Branch headed by Col. Graeme 
K. Howard, a former General Motors 
executive. The new branch was given re- 
sponsibility for co-ordinating projects 
common to two or more of the operating 
branches and thus assumed a large part of 
the job formerly handled by the direc- 
tors/' 1 

General Boatwright's tenure as chief of 
the center was marked by several impor- 
tant steps taken to strengthen the supply 
organization, for the year 1943 brought to 
the T-AC, as to the Ordnance Department 
and all the other supply services, the need 
for closer attention to stock control, stor- 

age, and distribution functions. Brig. Gen. 
Stewart E. Reimel was appointed assistant 
chief for supply and maintenance and was 
given a position in the organization on a 
par with that of General Christmas, who 
remained as assistant chief for develop- 
ment, engineering, and manufacturing. A 
short time later two new branches — Stor- 
age and Redistribution — were added to 
cope with the task of maintaining a con- 
stant flow of vehicles and spare parts to 
and from distant theaters of operations."" 
The T-AC was not only the largest of all 
the decentralized offices established by the 
Ordnance Department during the war 
but, unlike the other suboffices which were 
agencies of particular divisions or branches 
of the Department, the T-AC represented 
all of the major divisions. It was, as its later 
title of Office, Chief of Ordnance-Detroit 
(OCO-D) indicated, a replica of the 
Office, Chief of Ordnance, in Washing- 
ton. 1 ' 1 The size and importance of the or- 
ganization are indicated by the fact that 
during the eourse of the war it spent 
nearly 50 percent of all the funds allocated 
to the entire Ordnance Department. It 
directed the production of more than three 
million vehicles, ranging from bicycles to 

ss Interv with Col Edvvin S. Van Deusen, 12 Aug 

su Iniervs with Gen Glancy, Oct-Nov 49. 

! '" T-AC GO 7, 12 Jul 43, OHF. 

111 T-AC Bull 96, 27 Sep 43, OHF. 

"-' History, Office, Chief of Ordnance-Detroit (here- 
after cited as Hist OCO-D), OHF. 

91 The change in name was made by ODO 1 13, 31 
Dec 43, OHF. "The Ordnance automotive activity in 
Detroit was originally called the Tank- Automotive 
Center," General Campbell explained, "in order to 
identify to Industry the nature of its activities. Later 
I changed this name to Office. Chief of Ordnance- 
Detroit, as I found it desirable to give this decentral- 
ized part of my office the fullest recognition as an 
integral part of the Office, Chief of Ordnance, rather 
than as a subordinate agency." Lt. Gen. Levin II. 
Campbell, Jr., The Industry-Ordnance Team (McGraw- 
Hill Book Company. Inc., New York. 1946), p. 226. 



70-ton tanks. Its personnel strength grew 
from 40 officers and 593 civilians in Sep- 
tember 1942 to 500 officers and 3,800 
civilians by February 1943. ! ' 4 These figures 
support the conclusion reached by Colonel 
Raaen, Ordnance executive officer, that 
"the establishment of the Tank-Automo- 
tive Center . . . was the greatest step 
taken toward decentralization since the 
Ordnance district offices were established 
during the last war." 95 

In the opinion of officers who served in 
the OCO-D, one of the major lessons 
learned from the experience was the need 
for clear-cut delegation of authority by the 
headquarters in Washington. Many of the 
difficulties experienced by the Detroit of- 
fice during the war were due to the fact 
that not all of the division chiefs in Wash- 
ington delegated full authority to their 
representatives in the OCO-D. It was 
General Campbell's intention that the 
Washington office should exercise only 
staff functions and that the Detroit office 
should be the operating level. But there 
were many different interpretations as to 
what was a staff and what was an operat- 
ing function. "On the one hand," a Con- 
trol Division report stated in 1944, "offices 
in Detroit believe that Washington exceeds 
the bounds of staff supervision and in- 
dulges in operations to the point of inter- 
ference, while on the other hand, some 
officers in Washington feel that staff super- 
vision properly may be carried to any 
point that the staff officers feel is necessary 
in order to achieve effective results and 
that, where Washington has gone into op- 
erating details, it has been justified by 
failure on the part of Detroit to take 
prompt and effective measures, or by- 
other sufficient reasons." 98 

These difficulties were greater in supply 
and maintenance than in production and 

procurement. In general, there was more 
complete delegation of authority to the 
OCO-D by the Industrial Division in 
Washington than by the Field Service 
Division. Commenting after the war on 
this phase of Ordnance operations, Gen- 
eral Boatwright stated that securing full 
co-operation between the various subor- 
dinate groups in Washington and Detroit 
was one of his most difficult problems in 
1943. OCO-D was organized on a product 
basis well understood by the Industrial 
Service but not so well understood by the 
Field Service, which had an essentially 
functional organization. 37 

Other elements were also in the picture. 
The tank-automotive section of the Indus- 
trial Division, which became the manu- 
facturing-engineering branch of the 
OCO-D, had been physically transferred 
to Detroit in the fall of 1942 as a going 
concern under General Christmas and 
had been given relatively free rein at the 
outset, but General Reimel only gradually 
built up the maintenance-slipply organ- 
ization after the Detroit headquarters was 
established. As a result, the Industrial 
Division in Washington tended to give 
greater freedom of action to the manu- 
facturing branch in Detroit than the Field 
Service Division gave to the maintenance 
and supply branches. In addition, there 
was within the maintenance and supply 
branches a large proportion of former 
Quartermaster officers who had just re- 
cently been transferred to the Ordnance 
Department and who did not have close 

11 4 Statistical Summary of Accomplishments, T-AC, 
Dec 45, p. 51, OHF. 

"The Ordnance Reorganization," Army Ordnance, 
XXIV, 136 (1943), 66. 

!,c Relationships Between the OCO- Washington 
and the OCO-D, 24 Aug 44, prepared by Control Div, 
OCO- Washington, OHF. 

! ' 7 Ltr, Gen Boatwright to author, 16 Nov 49, OHF. 



personal ties, based on long years of asso- 
ciation, with their opposite numbers in 
Washington. Finally, there was the feel- 
ing among some officers, both in Washing- 
ton and Detroit, that the supply-mainte- 
nance functions should never have been 
assigned to the OCO-D at all but should 
have been kept within the Field Service 
Division or delegated to some other subor- 
dinate command. 

When asked, after the war, to evaluate 
the Detroit experiment in decentralization 
on the basis of his experience, General 
Christmas summed up the matter in these 

Decentralization by General Campbell in 
1942 of substantially half of his office (and 
substantially half of the money value of his 
program) to Detroit, was a bold and far-see- 
ing move. I consider that it was highly suc- 
cessful and contributed greatly to the out- 
standing success of the Ordnance Depart- 

But it is no secret that the operation of the 
OCO-D, employing some 500 officers and 
nearly 5,000 civilians, was not accomplished 
without some wear and tear on the people in 
charge (both in Detroit and Washington) nor 
without some inefficiency and error. These I 
lay to two factors: (a) The functional organ- 
ization of the higher echelon of the Ordnance 
Department, which cut across the essentially 
commodity organization of the OCO-D, 
which had been given complete responsibil- 
ity for all automotive vehicles under the 
Chief of Ordnance and his staff, (b) The fact 
that it takes a long time to get such a new 
idea across to most people. Hence, there were 
people in the Office, Chief of Ordnance- 
Washington, who either misunderstood the 
object of decentralization, were out of sym- 
pathy with it, or in some few cases, as so often 
happens, had personal reasons for opposing 
it. 98 

Field Service ^ones 

At the same time that the FDAP was 
being established in St. Louis, and the 

T-AC in Detroit, seven zone offices were 
established by the Field Service Division 
to decentralize the administration of its 
depots." This step was taken largely htr 
cause the Ordnance Department, follow- 
ing the transfer of transport vehicles from 
the Quartermaster Corps, had assumed 
responsibility for approximately 55,000,- 
000 additional square feet of storage space, 
including eight motor bases, four motor 
supply depots, eleven motor supply sec- 
tions, one motor reception park, and two 
training centers. This had brought to more 
than sixty the total number of depots and 
other field establishments under the juris- 
diction of the Field Service, and had 
added to the mounting volume of admin- 
istrative work in the Washington head- 
quarters of the Field Service Division. To 
provide for decentralized administration 
and management of these widely scattered 
establishments, seven zones were marked 
out on the map, with headquarters at 
Albany, New York, Baltimore, Maryland, 
Indianapolis, Indiana, Augusta, Georgia 
(moved within a few weeks to Atlanta, 
Georgia), Shreveport, Louisiana, Pueblo, 
Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah. 100 
Each zone office had from seven to twelve 
depots under its supervision, and served as 
an intermediate headquarters between 
these installations and the Office, Chief of 

After six months the zones were abol- 
ished and the depots again came directly 
under the Field Service Division in Wash- 

"* Statement by Gen Christmas, 1 1 Oct 49, OHF. 
As early as May 1942 General Crain, then chief 
of the Field Service, had recommended that this be 
done, but no action had been taken before General 
Crain's departure from the office. Ltr, GofOrd to GG 
SOS, 29 May 42, sub: Plan to Place Experienced Ord- 
nance Officers at Various Points . . . , Exhibit 35, 
Hist of FS Plans and Opns Br, OHF. 

'"" (1) ODO 338, 23 Sep 42, and Rev 1, 29 Jan 43, 
and (2) FS Bull 1-15, 10 Dec 42, both in OHF. 



ington. The zone offices were closed early 
in April 1943 because experience had 
shown that, instead of eliminating unnec- 
essary administrative work, the zones had 
simply become "yet another channel 
through which reports and directives fun- 
neled." 101 General Campbell and the 
chief of the Field Service Division, Gen- 
eral Hatcher, were in agreement that the 
zone offices had become bottlenecks that 
slowed up operations and that their dis- 
continuance would result in a great saving 
of manpower. 102 

Developments, 1943-45 

The organization of the Department re- 
mained relatively stable during the 1943- 
45 period. (See charts dated 6 July 1944 
and 14 August 1945.) Changes occurred 
in the names of various units, and occa- 
sionally functions were reassigned, but 
there was no modification of the broad 
outlines of the organizational structure. In 
June 1944 the word "service" came back 
into use to replace "division" as the desig- 
nation of the major units of the Depart- 
ment, and at the same time all the staff 
branches were renamed divisions. 103 The 
four main operating units — Industrial, 
Field Service, Technical, and Training — 
continued as the major elements of the 
Department, and, except in name, the 
eleven staff branches existing at the end of 
1942 continued throughout the war. Early 
in 1943 the Department reached the peak 
of its wartime expansion, and after that 
time more and more attention was given 
to tightening up the existing organization, 
economizing in the use of manpower and 
essential raw materials, and carefully 
scrutinizing all production schedules and 
stock inventories. 

Of all the major divisions of the Depart- 

ment, the Field Service experienced the 
greatest number of organizational changes 
during the 1943-45 period. This was 
chiefly because of a significant shift of em- 
phasis in the operation of the Department 
that took place during the latter half of 
1942. Throughout the preceding two 
years, first priority had necessarily been 
given to production, and the Industrial 
Service had occupied the center of the 
stage. At the end of 1942 the Field Service 
came to the front as munitions of all kinds 
came off the assembly lines in mountain- 
ous quantities and created serious prob- 
lems in storage, distribution, maintenance, 
and stock control. As war production 
moved into high gear, and as large over- 
seas movements of men and materiel got 
under way, the scale and complexity of 
supply operations reached unprecedented 
proportions and placed a severe strain on 
the Field Service Division. 104 The recom- 
mendations of a special advisory staff, 
combined with pressure from ASF head- 
quarters to make the division correspond 
more closely to the pattern of ASF organ- 
ization, accounted for the revisions made 
in the Field Service organization at this 

In January 1943 General Hatcher re- 
placed General Kutz as chief of the divi- 
sion. A short time later a Military Plans 
and Organizations Branch was formed to 
obtain information from higher headquar- 
ters on projected troop movements over- 
seas and use it as a basis for scheduling 

"" Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1943, p. 28. The zone offices 
were officially abolished by ODO 37, 6 Apr 43, OHF. 

">- (1) Intervs with Gen Hatcher and Col Ray M. 
Hare, summer 1949. (2) Memo, Campbell for 
Hatcher, 8 Mar 43. Exhibit 37. Hist of FS Plans and 
Opns, Vol. I, Pt. 2, OHF. 

111 ODO 88-44. 27 Jun 44, OHF. 

104 (1) Interv with Gen Hatcher, summer 1949. (2) 
Key Pers Rpt, 1945, Gen Hatcher, OHF. 



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operations within the Division. 105 A Field 
Service Control Branch was created in 
April to comply with orders from ASF 
headquarters that the Ordnance Depart- 
ment set up control branches in each of its 
main operating divisions. 10 " 

The most important change in the or- 
ganization of the Field Service Division 
during 1943 was the creation of the Stor- 
age Branch and Stock Control Branch in 
August. This move came as a result of 
direct orders from ASF headquarters and 
was reluctantly accepted by the Ordnance 
Department. In organizing his staff at ASF 
headquarters, Maj. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, 
assistant chief of staff for operations, had 
established two separate divisions, one to 
deal with storage and the other with stock 
control. In April 1943 he directed the 
Ordnance Department to adopt the same 
type of functional organization in its Field 
Service Division. 107 Neither General 
Campbell nor General Hatcher favored 
taking such a step. Both believed that the 
traditional Ordnance practice of assigning 
supply responsibility on a product basis 
should be continued, with the Ammuni- 
tion Supply Branch handling all phases of 
ammunition supply, including storage and 
stock control, and the General Supply 
Branch handling all other types of Ord- 
nance supplies. 108 In the middle of May 
General Hatcher created a Supply 
Branch, made up of a Storage Section and 
a Stock Control Section. The Supply 
Branch, headed by Brig. Gen. R. S. 
Chavin, was a compromise between the 
ASF and Ordnance points of view, and 
did not last long. In August General 
Hatcher was forced to abolish the Supply 
Branch and to raise its two sections to the 
level of branches, on the same organiza- 
tional plane as the existing Executive, 
Control, Maintenance, and Military 

Plans and Organizations Branches. 109 

During 1944 ASF ordered another 
change in the Field Service organization. 
To comply with the provisions of ASF Cir- 
cular 67, General Hatcher appointed 
Colonel McMahon to serve as executive 
assistant for materiel control. Colonel 
McMahon was charged with responsibility 
for co-ordinating the activities of the Field 
Service Division, the Industrial Division, 
and the War Plans and Requirements 
Branch of the General Office on all mat- 
ters relating to stock levels and distribution 
of supplies, and to maintain liaison for the 
Ordnance Department with ASF head- 
quarters. 110 After V-E Day Colonel 
McMahon's title was changed to executive 
assistant for surplus military property, as 
increasing attention was given to the dis- 
posal of surplus materiel, particularly 
trucks and automotive parts for which 
there was a big demand in the civilian 
economy. A year later, when its functions 
were relatively routine, Colonel Mc- 
Mahon's office was transferred to the 
Stock Control Division where it became 
the Surplus Property Branch. 

The Military Training Service gained 
new responsibilities in 1944 when both the 
Military Plans and Organizations Branch 
of the Field Service and the Ordnance De- 

Il,a (1) Change 2, Rev 2, ODO 291, 29 Mar 43, 
OHF. (2) Hist of FS Exec Div, Vol. Ill, Ch. 3, OHF. 
(3) Interv, summer 1949, with Col Harold J. Conway, 
Chief of FS Exec Br, 1943. 

106 (1) Memo, CofOrd for Chiefs of Divs, 8 Apr 43, 
sub: Establishment of Additional Control Offices, OO 
023/489, DRB AGO. (2) FS Office Memo 116, 30 
Apr 43, DRB AGO. 

107 Memo, CG ASF for CofOrd, 30 Apr 43, sub: 
Depot Operations, OO 400.24/3556, DRB AGO. 

108 Intervs with Gen Hatcher, summer 1950. 

'"•» FS Office Memo 142, 24 Aug 43, DRB AGO. 

1,0 ODO 45-44, 25 Mar 44, OHF. See also Key 
Pers Rpt, 1945, Col McMahon, and Hist of Exec Asst 
for Materiel Control, OHF. 



partment Board were assigned to it. 111 Be- 
fore this time the service had been exclu- 
sively a training organization. The 
follow-up on Ordnance troops after com- 
pletion of their training had been a 
responsibility of the Field Service Military 
Plans and Organizations Branch. Simi- 
larly, studies of troop equipment and or- 
ganization had been carried on by the 
Ordnance Department Board, which had 
been administratively independent al- 
though reporting through the Military 
Training Service. This separation of 
related staff functions was ended in Octo- 
ber 1944 when General Campbell trans- 
ferred both the Ordnance Department 
Board and the Military Plans and Organ- 
izations Branch of Field Service to the 
Military Training Service, and at the same 
time renamed it the Military Plans and 
Training Service, thus placing under one 
command the threefold responsibility for 
training, troop movement, and the study 
of equipment and organization of Ord- 
nance units. 

In the Technical Division the only or- 
ganizational change of any importance 
during 1943 came in September when a 
Rocket Development Branch was added 
to the five existing development branches 
(Ammunition, Artillery, Tank, Small 
Arms, and Aircraft Armament) because of 
the growing importance of these new 
weapons." 2 Before this time rocket devel- 
opment work had been carried on within 
the Ammunition, Artillery, and Small 
Arms Branches. The new branch took 
over all rocket development work except 
that on the shoulder-type launcher, the 
"bazooka," which remained with the 
Small Arms Development Branch. In 
April 1944 a small Control Section was 
added to the Executive Branch in order to 
decentralize the control function within 

the Department, and in June 1944 the 
name of the Technical Division was 
changed to Research and Development 
Service. 113 

Among the staff branches the only note- 
worthy change was the creation of the 
office of director of personnel in March 
1944 to co-ordinate the activities of the 
Civilian Personnel Branch and the Mili- 
tary Personnel Branch. Such a link be- 
tween the two branches was necessary be- 
cause ASF headquarters had adopted a 
system of bulk allotments of personnel, 
lumping together civilian and military 
manpower, and had itself established a 
single personnel branch. To bring the 
Ordnance organization into line with that 
of ASF headquarters and thus facilitate 
the transaction of business, General 
Campbell appointed the chief of the Mili- 
tary Personnel Branch, Col. C. Wingate 
Reed, as director of personnel and made 
him responsible for all Ordnance person- 
nel matters. 114 

Throughout the war the leaders of the 
Ordnance Department were influenced by 
several more or less clearly defined prin- 
ciples of administration. The officers who 
held controlling positions in Ordnance 
were, for the most part, not men who had 
devoted much time to studying the theory 
of public administration, but were men 
with strong convictions on the subject, 
convictions that were the outgrowth of 
many years of experience with various 

111 (I) Change 1, Rev 1, ODO 6-44, 10 Oct 44. (2) 
Rev 2, ODO 6-44, 21 Oct 44. See also Hist of Ord 
Dept Bd, Vol. Ill, Ch. 13. All in OHF. 

112 Tech Div Memo 22, 23 Sep 43, OHF. 

11:1 (1) Rpt of Tech Div, 1943-44, OO 3 1 9. 1/4303, 
DRB AGO. (2) ODO 88-44, 27 Jun 44, OHF. 

114 (1) Rev 1, ODO 4-44, 13 Mar 44, and ODO 
5-44, 18 Mar 44, OHF. (2) ASF Ann Rpt, 1943, pp. 
248-49, DRB AGO. 



types of military and industrial organiza- 
tion. The fundamental concepts that these 
men had formulated during the twenty 
years between the two world wars were 
carried over into the period after 1941 and 
did much to determine the structure of the 
Department during World War II. 

Perhaps the most important of these was 
the principle of decentralization. Since the 
creation of the Ordnance districts in 
World War I, decentralization of procure- 
ment functions had been a traditional 
Ordnance policy, while decentralization 
of manufacturing and related functions to 
the arsenals had been an established 
policy for over a century. During World 
War II the decentralization principle was 
applied on a much wider basis than ever 
before and was generally credited with 
making an important contribution to the 
success of the Ordnance program. Among 
all the technical services in the War De- 
partment, Ordnance took the lead in 
decentralizing its activities to subordinate 
headquarters in various parts of the coun- 
try, both General Wesson and General 
Campbell strongly supporting the prin- 
ciple. Decentralization created certain 
problems, but the soundness of the prin- 
ciple was recognized by the ASF Control 
Division and by virtually all the leading 
officers in the Ordnance Department. 

There was a sharp contrast between the 
type of decentralization represented by 
the districts and arsenals and that intro- 
duced when the Tank-Automotive Center 
was established. Each district covered a 
specific geographical area and was respon- 
sible for procurement and inspection of all 
types of products, although each district 
tended to specialize in certain types most 
commonly produced by the industries 
within its boundaries. The arsenals were 
primarily government-owned manufac- 

turing establishments that served to keep 
alive the art of munitions making in time 
of peace, to develop new weapons and 
manufacturing techniques, and to serve as 
production centers and training grounds 
in time of war. The establishment of the 
Tank-Automotive Center in Detroit added 
a third type of geographical decentraliza- 
tion along product lines. The T-AC was 
not limited to procurement, inspection, 
and manufacture, but was created to 
manage all aspects of the tank-automotive 
program — development, test, procure- 
ment (through the districts), distribution, 
and maintenance. Its activities were chiefly 
concentrated within the Detroit area, but 
the center had no fixed geographical 
boundaries. The functions of the T-AC 
were so broad that it was considered to be 
a replica of the Office, Chief of Ordnance. 

The existence of the Detroit office led 
many Ordnance officers to propose that 
the Department be organized after the 
war on the basis of similar decentralized 
"product centers," each of which would be 
responsible for one group of items from 
start to finish. This was perhaps the most 
significant new concept of organization 
developed within the Department during 
the war, and the one that resulted in the 
widest differences of opinion. Reorganiza- 
tion along these lines was the chief recom- 
mendation made by the Harris Board, ap- 
pointed by General Campbell in 1944 to 
study the postwar organization of the De- 
partment. 115 This suggestion was not put 
into effect by Campbell's successor, Maj. 
Gen. Everett S. Hughes, during the years 
immediately following the war and re- 
mained one of the major questions on 

117 ' As it was concerned principally with production 
and storage, this proposal will be discussed in detail 
in Thomson and Mayo, Procurement and Supply of 
Munitions, MS, OHF. 



which opinion within the Department was 

Another organizational issue that 
aroused a great deal of discussion and led 
to sharp differences of opinion was that of 
functional as opposed to product organi- 
zation. Confusion often entered the pic- 
ture when this issue was under discussion 
because the Ordnance Department, like 
most large organizations, combined the 
two types, with alternate levels of author- 
ity being organized on functional and 
product bases. The top-level division fol- 
lowed functional lines — the production 
and procurement functions to Industrial 
Service, the supply and distribution func- 
tions to Field Service, the research and de- 
velopment functions to the Technical Di- 
vision, and so on. But, with the exception 
of the Field Service, the first level of au- 
thority below these top divisions was based 
on products rather than functions. Within 
the Industrial Division there were sepa- 
rate branches devoted to the major prod- 
uct groups such as artillery, small arms, 
and ammunition, rather than branches 
dealing with functions such as design, 
manufacture, procurement, and inspec- 
tion. Within each of the product branches, 
in turn, there were sections organized on a 
functional basis. 

Early in the war the Field Service was 
organized in similar fashion, dividing its 
activities between two product branches — 
ammunition supply and general supply. 
As time went on, the Field Service Divi- 
sion adopted an essentially functional or- 
ganization with separate branches de- 
voted to storage, stock control, and main- 
tenance, but with ammunition remaining 
as a separate product-type branch. 

General Campbell regretted that it was 
necessary for the Department to continue 
during the war on a partly functional -type 

and partly product-type of organization. 
Had he considered it feasible to make 
such a drastic change while the war was 
in progress, he would have rooted out 
"every last malingering vestige of func- 
tionalism." 1 16 He favored establishing a 
plan of definite product responsibility, 
with the chief of each product division 
given full responsibility for that product 
from design to obsolescence. And he gave 
his approval to the recommendation of the 
Harris Board on the postwar organization 
of the Department that decentralization 
be combined with product responsibility 
to form six "product centers." 

In the minds of many Ordnance offi- 
cers, functional organization was looked 
upon as the first step on the road to the 
merger of all technical services within a 
single Army supply agency, along the lines 
of General Somervell's proposals in the 
summer of 1943 and at the end of the war. 
This was in part due to the fact that the 
Somervell plans contemplated a func- 
tional organization for the proposed Army 
supply agency, with Ordnance handling 
only the procurement function, and other 
supply services handling research and de- 
velopment, storage and issue, and so on. 
There was virtually universal agreement 
among high-ranking Ordnance officers 
that such a plan of organization would 
have resulted in a dispersal of responsibil- 
ity and would have made effective inte- 
gration of the entire program of produc- 
tion and distribution impossible. The 
officers contended that a functional organ- 
ization would have allowed too much op- 
portunity for the production program to 
get out of balance — with too many guns of 
one caliber and not enough of another, in- 
sufficient ammunition for the guns on 

1 "' Campbell, Industry-Ordnance Team, p. 443. 



hand, or more trucks than there were tires 
to equip them — because no one individual 
would have been responsible for any one 
product group. 

Of all the organizational issues that 
arose during the war, the most important 
for the Ordnance Department was that of 
the position the Department was to oc- 
cupy within the framework of the War De- 
partment. Ordnance leaders were con- 
vinced that the Department could function 
most effectively, and make its greatest con- 
tribution to the war effort, if it enjoyed a 
large measure of freedom in carrying out 
the production programs adopted by 
higher authority. Far from ever question- 
ing the need for over-all direction of the 
war program, these officers, particularly 
in 1940 and 1941, consistently argued that 
the failure of the War Department to pro- 
vide sufficient guidance by determining 
well in advance how large the Army was 
eventually to be and what equipment it 
was to have, was one of the gravest handi- 
caps for the Ordnance Department in get- 
ting large-scale production of munitions 
under way. But they vigorously opposed 
any efforts by higher authority to go be- 
yond the establishment of requirements 
and broad policies, feeling that top-level 
staff agencies should concern themselves 
only with questions of policy and should 
not interfere with operating details. 

Many Ordnance officers felt that Gen- 
eral Campbell's greatest service to the 
Ordnance Department — and to the cause 

of national security — was his successful re- 
sistance to proposals of the Army Service 
Forces to merge all the technical services 
into one Army-wide supply agency. With 
its century-old tradition of independent 
status and its high standards of technical 
competence, the Department felt that it 
was fully capable of completing its as- 
signed mission without the constant super- 
vision of any higher headquarters. It was 
also convinced that any proposal to assign 
Ordnance research and development, am- 
munition supply, or any other technical 
phase of Ordnance operations to a War 
Department agency such as the Quarter- 
master Corps or the Chemical Warfare 
Service, which had had no experience in 
that particular specialty, would have 
been foolhardy. 

Although the Ordnance Department 
successfully opposed many of the ASF pro- 
posals advanced during World War II, the 
issue was not dead at the end of the war. 
The officers who had championed the De- 
partment's point of view gained some 
satisfaction in witnessing the abolition of 
the Army Service Forces in 1946 and the 
restoration of the technical services to sub- 
stantially the same positions — as related 
to higher authority — they had held before 
1942. But these officers remained on the 
alert to challenge any revival of proposals 
to abolish the separate product responsi- 
bilities of the technical services in favor of 
a consolidated supply agency based on a 
functional organization. 


Military Personnel and Training 

During the years between the two world 
wars the number of officers and enlisted 
men in the Ordnance Department was 
never large. The Department was limited 
by law to 350 Regular Army officers, and 
lack of funds kept its actual officer strength 
during those years to an average of only 
275. By June 1940, in spite of the increased 
tempo of national defense activities, the 
total number of Regular Army officers in 
the Department had risen only to 375. 
There were, in addition, 3,000 Ordnance 
Reserve officers on the rolls, but nearly 
two thirds of these were earmarked for 
duty with troops or with other arms and 
services and were not under the jurisdic- 
tion of the Chief of Ordnance. The aver- 
age number of enlisted men in the Depart- 
ment during the years between the wars 
was only about 2,200, and by June 1940 
had not risen to much more than 3,500. 1 
During the latter half of 1940, with larger 
appropriations available, the military 
strength of the Department rose rapidly 
and continued to rise throughout 1941. 
The ranks of the officer corps were filled at 
first by calling Reserve officers to active 
duty and by granting Reserve commis- 
sions to qualified civilians, and later by 
commissioning graduates of the Officer 
Candidate School.' 2 At the time of the at- 
tack on Pearl Harbor the Department had 
410 Regular Army officers and 3,338 Re- 
serve officers on active duty, and approxi- 
mately 30,000 enlisted men. A year later 

the number of officers and men had 
jumped to 235,000, a 700 percent increase 
within one year. 3 

During the prewar years the "regulars" 
who carried on the work of the Depart- 
ment were professional soldiers well 
trained in both military and technical 
subjects. The rapid expansion of the war 
period, however, brought in so many 
thousands of untrained or only partially 
trained officers and men that an intensive, 
large-scale training program became nec- 
essary. New schools and training centers 
were established to produce automotive 
mechanics, ammunition handlers, and ex- 
perts in repairing small arms and artil- 
lery — the "fighting technicians" who were 
to supply and maintain the complicated 
weapons and vehicles used by the U.S. 
Army in World War II. Although many 
officers and some enlisted men were as- 
signed to procurement, storage, and in- 
spection functions at depots and district 
offices, the majority of Ordnance troops 

1 (1) Ann Rpts SW, 1920-40. (2) Ltr, CofOrd to 
TAG. 1.1 Jul 40, sub: Allotment of Officers . . . , AG 
320.2 (7-19-40) (I) Sec I, DRB AGO. (3) ASF Con- 
trol Div. The Period of Military Preparedness, 1940- 
1941,-MS hist, OCMH. 

- ByAugust 1940, Ordnance had called 800 Re- 
serve officers to active duty on a voluntary basis. By 
the following summer, when the Officer Candidate 
School opened, there were nearly 1,500 Reserve offi- 
cers on duty with the Department. Ordnance Admin- 
istration, Ch. 14. Table I, MS hist, OHF. 

1 (1) Period of Military Preparedness, OCMH. (2) 
Greenfield, Palmer, and Wiley, The Organization of 
Ground Combat Troops, p. 203. 



were assigned to duty with maintenance 
units in the field, and the Ordnance 
training program had to provide the 
skilled manpower needed. The number of 
officers engaged in training activities in 
1943 far exceeded the total number of of- 
ficers in the Department during the pre- 
war years, and the number of Ordnance 
men trained during World War II was 
greater than the total of the peacetime 

Ordnance Schools, 1920-40 

From 1920 to 1940 the Ordnance De- 
partment maintained two schools at which 
small groups of officers and enlisted men 
were given formal training. The Ordnance 
School at Watertown Arsenal offered a 
comprehensive two-year ordnance engi- 
neering course in which twenty officers 
were normally enrolled. 4 The Ordnance 
Specialist School at Raritan Arsenal of- 
fered a number of nine-month courses in 
the repair, maintenance, and storage of 
Ordnance materiel for groups of care- 
fully selected enlisted men. 

Enlisted students at Raritan were given 
no military training because they were all 
veterans of two or more years of active 
Army service. Each student enrolled for a 
period of from nine to twelve months in 
one of the specialized courses for armorers, 
artillery mechanics, automotive mechan- 
ics, carpenters, welders, or other special- 
ists. In addition, each year a group of 
about twenty-five enlisted men took the 
noncommissioned officers course, which 
gave them a broad survey of all aspects of 
the Ordnance sergeant's duties. The Ord- 
nance Field Service School, as it was re- 
named in 1931, was essentially a trade 
school for enlisted men with about 150 
students normally enrolled, but in 1932 

the curriculum was extended to include a 
three months' course for officers. 5 

The facilities at Raritan were never 
adequate. The buildings were of tempo- 
rary World War I construction, and by the 
middle 1930's were in urgent need of re- 
pair. 6 There was no outdoor range on 
which students could fire weapons, no 
cross-country course for maneuvering ve- 
hicles, and only limited amounts of equip- 
ment for teaching repair of optical instru- 
ments. Further, since Raritan was princi- 
pally an ammunition depot, it had on 
hand very little Ordnance equipment for 
the students to observe and study. When 
officers of both schools surveyed the situa- 
tion during the summer of 1936, they 
reached the conclusion that Aberdeen 
Proving Ground, the center for Ordnance 
research and learning, was the most suit- 
able location for all the educational activi- 
ties of the Department. This conclusion 
was approved by the Secretary of War 
early in December, but funds were not 
made available for the needed construc- 
tion at Aberdeen until nearly eighteen 
months later. 

The final impetus for moving the en- 
listed men's school to Aberdeen came from 
the swift victories of the German armies in 
the early summer of 1940. In May of that 
year, while Lt. Col. Julian S. Hatcher, 
commandant of the officers' school, was en 

'(1) Interv with Gen Lewis, Jan 50. (2) Capt. 
W. H. Spinrad, "Early History of The Ordnance 
School," The Ordnance Sergeant, III, 1 (1942), 1-4. (3) 
Hist of Ord School and appended docs, OHF. 

3 (1) Spinrad, loc. cit. (2) Interv, Oct 49, with Col 
George W. Outland, former commandant of FS 

s (1) Memo, Gen Tschappat for ACofS G-3, 14 
Nov 36, sub: Consolidation of the Ordnance Field 
Service School and the Ordnance School, OO 
352/146, NA. (2) Memo, Lt Col Julian S. Hatcher for 
Capt Morris W. Osborn, Engr Sec, 1 1 Aug 37, sub: 
New Construction, OHF. (3) Hist of Ord School, 
App., pp. 2-7, OHF. 



route to the Army maneuvers in Louisi- 
ana, he read in newspapers of the German 
invasion of the Low Countries. "Before 
proceeding further to the maneuvers," 
Major General Hatcher wrote later, "I 
dispatched an informal letter to Maj. Gen. 
C. M. Wesson, Chief of Ordnance, making 
the urgent personal recommendation that, 
without delay, the schools at Aberdeen 
and Raritan should be consolidated and 
suitable emergency facilities found at 
Aberdeen for a greatly expanded training 
program." 7 Although the new buildings 
were still incomplete, General Wesson 
approved the proposal to combine the two 
schools as soon as possible. Early in July 
the 40th Training Company, which had 
been stationed at Raritan Arsenal since 
World War I, moved to Aberdeen. 8 This 
step marked the end of relatively leisurely 
training of small groups at separate Ord- 
nance schools and ushered in the period 
when tens of thousands of men arrived at 
Aberdeen every year for intensive, high- 
speed instruction. 

J 940 Plans for Training 

As the possibility of American involve- 
ment in the war daily came closer during 
the summer of 1940, War Department 
plans for training troops were hastily 
revised and brought up to date, but they 
had to remain in the blueprint stage until 
the Congress enacted legislation to 
increase the size of the Army. During that 
summer legislation to draft men for mili- 
tary service was under protracted consid- 
eration by the House and Senate. Huge 
sums of money were voted in June for the 
procurement of military supplies, but it 
was not until 16 September that the Selec- 
tive Service and Training Act was passed. 

Anticipating enactment of this legisla- 

tion, the G-3 Division of the General Staff 
in August completed a tentative plan for 
mobilization training and forwarded 
copies to all interested agencies. 9 This plan 
called for the establishment of a score of 
Replacement Centers to receive "enlistees" 
who volunteered for military service and 
"selectees" inducted under the Selective 
Service Act and give them thirteen weeks 
of training in basic military and basic tech- 
nical subjects. The Replacement Center 
at Aberdeen Proving Ground was to be 
used to train Ordnance troops and was to 
have a capacity of 5,800. At the same time 
the G-3 Division approved an increase in 
the capacity of the Ordnance School to 
2,200 and the establishment of three Ord- 
nance Unit Training Centers (UTC's) with 
a combined capacity of 3,700. 

Although these plans existed only on 
paper, they outlined a well-rounded pro- 
gram of Ordnance training. The Ord- 
nance School, with its long experience and 
its competent staff, was designed to pro- 
vide technical training for both officers and 
enlisted specialists. It was also to serve as 
the source of cadres for the new training 
centers. The Replacement Center, later 
renamed Replacement Training Center, 
was to teach newly inducted men their 
military ABC's and give them an elemen- 
tary course in some phase of Ordnance 
service. The Unit Training Centers were to 
receive graduates, both officers and 
enlisted men, from the Replacement 
Center and Ordnance School, organize 
them as companies, and, with the aid of an 

7 Key Pcrs Rpt, 1945, Hatcher, OHF. 

* Hist of Ord School, pp. 39-40, OHF. A detach- 
ment was left at Raritan to train a group of enlisted 
men who were to be transferred to Aberdeen later for 
specialized training as instructors. 

■' See ltr. CofOrd to QMG, 6 Sep 40, sub: Addi- 
tional QMC Personnel . . . . OO 353/76. DRB 



experienced cadre assigned to each unit, 
give them a thirteen-week course on work- 
ing together as members of a team. The 
whole program of Army training in 1940 
was geared to crowding as much instruc- 
tion as possible into one year since the 
Selective Service Act provided that men 
would return to civilian life after twelve 
months of military training. 

Actual establishment of the proposed 
training centers was not authorized by the 
War Department until several weeks after 
the enactment of Selective Service in mid- 
September. 10 Then began the long process 
of erecting barracks, shops, and buildings 
for classrooms, acquiring training equip- 
ment, and organizing staffs of instructors. 
Because the Ordnance School, Replace- 
ment Center, and Unit Training Center 
were all to be located at Aberdeen, an 
Ordnance Training Center was formed 
there to provide unified control of all 
training activities. The Ordnance Training 
Center was officially activated on New 
Year's Day 1941 with Colonel Hatcher in 

The Ordnance School at Aberdeen 

Within a few days of the transfer of the 
40th Training Company to Aberdeen in 
July 1940, the Ordnance School was con- 
ducting classes for both officers and enlisted 
men at its new location. Instruction began 
while partitions, plumbing, heating, and 
lighting were still being installed. The 
unfinished barracks offered only cold 
showers, screenless windows, and beds 
without sheets or pillows. An old museum 
building provided makeshift classrooms 
and shops while new buildings were being 
erected. At the same time, preparations 
were being made for the future, although 

no definite long-range training objectives 
had yet been set by the War Department. 

Streamlining the Curriculum 

The pace of Ordnance training before 
1940 had been slow, and the instruction 
had been thorough. Classes had normally 
been small and students had been spe- 
cially selected, above-average, career sol- 
diers. 12 The enlisted students who came to 
the Ordnance School after 1940 were not 
experienced Regular Army veterans, but 
young men who had been drafted for a 
year of military training under the Selec- 
tive Service Act. There was not time to 
give them nine-month courses in various 
phases of ordnance. They had to be trained 
quickly — and in large numbers — and then 
be transferred to the field forces for addi- 
tional training in large-unit operations. To 
meet this situation the Ordnance School 
streamlined its courses by eliminating all 
but the most essential material and reduc- 
ing the time allotted for each subject. 13 

The first course given at Aberdeen was 
a shortened version of the former NCO 
course, lasting only twelve weeks instead 

'" Ltr, TAG to CG's major commands, 25 Oct 40, 
sub: Replacement Centers, AG 680.1 (7-1 1-40) (1) 
Sec 1, DRB AGO. 

11 (1) ODO 151. 26 Dec 40, OHF. (2) Col. J. S. 
Hatcher. "The Ordnance Training Center," Army 
Ordnance, XXI, 126 (1941), 625. (3) For comment on 
the difficulties encountered at Aberdeen, see memo, 
Col Outland for author, 3 1 Oct 50, OHF. 

12 Brig. Gen. Harry R. Kutz, "Military Education," 
Army Ordnance, XXVI, 144 (1944), 531-32. General 
Kutz was chief of the Military Training Division from 
1943 to 1945. See also Capt. J. G. Smithwick, "Train- 
ing Enlisted Specialists," Army Ordnance, XXIX, 152 
(1945), 260-61. 

' ! Col. G. W. Outland, "The Ordnance School," 
The Ordnance Sergeant, V, 1 (1943), 36-37. The same 
step was taken by the German Army in training its 
ordnance technicians. See manuscript study, MS D- 
175, Die Technische Ausbildung des Waffenmeister — Per- 
sonals, GMDS DRB AGO." 



of nine months. During July, a few days 
after the 40th Training Company had 
moved to Aberdeen, a group of two hun- 
dred enlisted men — eight times the num- 
ber usually enrolled at Raritan — arrived 
at the school to take the NGO course. 14 
Later in the year, as construction of more 
classrooms and shop buildings was com- 
pleted, the specialist courses in artillery, 
small arms, automotive vehicles, fire con- 
trol instruments, carpentry, and welding, 
formerly conducted at Raritan, were 
included in the curriculum at Aberdeen. 
Each course was given in three months 
instead of nine and, as time went on, other 
short courses were added for machinists, 
clerks, munitions workers, and antiaircraft 
fire control specialists. In addition to the 
courses for enlisted men, the Ordnance 
School also developed a streamlined pro- 
gram of officer training. In June 1940 the 
two-year course for officers was discon- 
tinued and several short, specialized 
courses, designed chiefly for the large num- 
ber of Reserve officers who were being 
called to active duty, were substituted. 16 

In the summer of 1941 the demand for 
enlisted specialists became so great that 
the Ordnance School had to speed up its 
training process. The school authorities 
adopted the methods of industrial mass 
production, setting up many different pro- 
duction lines to turn out specialists just as 
factory production lines turned out inter- 
changeable parts for a machine. In the 
automotive section, for example, the 
attempt to produce in thirteen weeks ver- 
satile automotive mechanics capable of 
repairing all types of vehicles was aban- 
doned. Instead, students were divided into 
three groups — tank mechanics, tractor 
mechanics, and wheeled-vehicle and half- 
track mechanics — each group being given 
a short but intensive course in its special 

field. Meanwhile, the general-purpose 
NCO course was dropped because it 
proved to be less valuable than the special- 
ized courses, particularly since it could no 
longer be restricted to highly qualified, 
experienced veterans. As General Kutz, 
who became chief of the Military Training 
Division in 1943, described this move: "We 
discarded the time-consuming endeavor of 
trying to train a Jack-of-all-trades and 
concentrated, instead, upon turning out 
highlv skilled technicians in specialized 
fields.'" 10 

A new form of specialized training was 
added to the curriculum early in 1942 
when the Base Shop School was opened. 
In 1940 it had generally been assumed 
that, in time of war, ordnance in need of 
major overhaul would be returned to the 
arsenals in the United States, as had been 
the procedure in World War I. Although 
several officers on the Ordnance School 
staff had dissented, and recommended 
that troop units be trained to operate Ord- 
nance base maintenance shops overseas, 
no provision for such training was made 
during the first year of the school's opera- 
tion at Aberdeen. In the fall of 1941, how- 
ever, it became apparent that such 
instruction was needed, and a few weeks 
before Pearl Harbor General Wesson 
directed the Ordnance School to establish 
an organization to train personnel for 
overseas base shop units. 17 

" Hist of Ord School, p. 208, OHF. 

15 Ibid., p. 137. 

16 Gen. II. R. Kutz, ''Military Education," Army 
Ordnance. XXVI, 144 (1944), 532. See also the re- 
marks of Dr. Robert E. Doherty in the same issue, p. 

1 7 ( 1 ) Ltr, CofOrd to CG Ord Training Center, 22 
Nov 41, sub: Base Shop Facilities at APG : copy in 
Hist of Ord School. App., OHF. (2) Intervs with Col 
Outland and Lt Col Keith T. O'Keefe, Apr 50. (3) 
Hist of MPTS, XI, 37-44, OHF. 



Decentralization of Technical Training 

The Ordnance School steadily increased 
in size during 1941, reaching a capacity of 
1,500 by the end of the year. 18 After the 
outbreak of war in December the school 
area was extended until it eventually 
covered 275 acres, with more than 300 
buildings, and, at the peak of the training 
load, the curriculum included more than 
70 different technical courses. But even 
with this rapid growth, the school was not 
able to train all the Ordnance technicians 
required by the Army, and an elaborate 
program of decentralization was adopted. 
To supplement the facilities at Aberdeen, 
the Ordnance Department turned first to 
various civilian trade schools, then to spe- 
cialized branches of the Ordnance School, 
and finally to factory schools. 

As early as November 1940 the Ord- 

nance School had adopted the practice of 
farming out a few of its students to civilian 
trade schools. At that time, a group of 50 
student machinists had been enrolled at 
the Springfield Trade School in Massachu- 
setts, and in July 1941 another group of 
students had been sent to a civilian trade 
school in Baltimore for training in electri- 
cal maintenance. Contracts for training 
Ordnance troops were made with several 
other civilian trade schools in 1942." At 
the same time the Ordnance School estab- 
lished branches at Ordnance depots. In 

19 Ltr, CofOrd to ACofS G-3, 8 Jan 42, sub: The 
Ordnance Training Problem, OO 353.4/61, DRB 
AGO. The average number of graduates per month 
during fiscal vear 1941 was 200; during 1942 it rose 
to 400, and during 1943 to over 1,000. See Hist of Ord 
School, Vol. I. App., pp. 2-55, OHF. 

19 Hist of MPTS, 1, 56-60, OHF. 



January 1942 after the UTC at Savanna 
had been closed, the clerical and ammu- 
nition courses at Aberdeen were trans- 
ferred to Savanna to release facilities 
urgently needed for the expanding Officer 
Candidate School which had been opened 
at Aberdeen in July 1941. As the problems 
of distributing and keeping records of 
spare parts for all kinds of Ordnance 
equipment became critical during 1942, a 
school for training parts clerks was organ- 
ized at the Rossford Ordnance Depot, 
Toledo, Ohio. 

In 1942, as it became apparent that the 
Department would not be able to train all 
the technical specialists needed, the Mili- 
tary Training Division asked manufactur- 
ing concerns holding war contracts to train 
Ordnance personnel in their own shops 
and classrooms. In many instances these 
concerns were ideally prepared to train 
maintenance mechanics as they had staffs 
of expert instructors and ample supplies of 
tools, equipment, and technical litera- 
ture. The manufacturers entered whole- 
heartedly into the task of producing 
"factory-trained soldiers" to maintain the 
weapons of war coming off the production 

The largest single addition to Ordnance 
training operations during World War II 
came in August 1942 when responsibility 
for Army trucks and other vehicles was 
transferred from The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral to the Chief of Ordnance. Included in 
the transfer were a score of Quartermaster 
automotive schools, both military and 
civilian, with a combined capacity for 
nearly 15,000 students. Most of these 
schools were comparatively small, how- 
ever, and were closed during the spring 
and summer of 1943 in an effort to consoli- 
date automotive training in a few large 
centers."" By December 1943, when the 

automotive school at Holabird Ordnance 
Depot in Baltimore, Maryland, was closed, 
only four Ordnance automotive schools 
were still in operation — Atlanta, Georgia; 
Normoyle in San Antonio, Texas; Fort 
Crook, Nebraska; and Mt. Rainier in 
Tacoma, Washington. Normoyle was 
closed in March 1944 and Fort Crook in 
April 1945, leaving only Atlanta and Mt. 
Rainier in operation at the end of the war. 
For some months after the transfer of 
motor vehicles to Ordnance, the Quarter- 
master Corps trained men for the Ord- 
nance Department at its two large 
replacement centers. 

Ordnance school training expanded so 
rapidly during 1941 and 1942 that it was 
impossible to keep an accurate and 
detailed record of the number of students 
trained. "We were adding new schools so 
rapidly in 1942," Col. George W. Outland 
later remarked, "that I would have been 
hard pressed to tell you on any one day 
exactly how many we had." 21 New courses 
were added to the curriculum and old 
courses were revised and redesignated. 
Not all students assigned to the Ordnance 
School followed the simple pattern of com- 
pleting a single course and then moving on 
to a new assignment. Some took several 
short courses in related fields before leav- 
ing the school while others, for one reason 
or another, were transferred before com- 
pleting a single course. The courses varied 
so in length that statistical tabulations of 
courses completed are virtually meaning- 
less. The following table of the number of 
men graduated from these courses is based 
on the best available estimates for the 

-" ASF Monthly Progress Rpt, 30 Apr 43, Sec. 9, 
p. 5, OHF. For d iscussio n of Ordnance automotive 
UTC's, sec be.Low. rix 144.| 

-' Interv with Col Outland, Jan 50. 



period between January 1941 and Sep- 
tember 1945: 22 





















1945 (to Sep) 







Total for 1941 

and 1942. 

Teaching Methods and Training Aids 

The veteran instructors on the faculty of 
the Ordnance School in 1940 had learned 
effective teaching methods through many 
years of experience, but most of the new 
members who joined the staff in 1941 
needed instruction in the techniques of 
teaching. In September 1941, therefore, 
Colonel Outland created a Training 
Methods Branch and assigned as its head 
a senior instructor from the automotive 
section who had extensive civilian experi- 
ence as a teacher of engineering subjects.'" 3 
Beginning in September the new branch 
gave a thirty-hour course in teaching 
methods to all officer instructors. The 
course included discussion of lesson plans, 
the proper use of various techniques of 
teaching, the employment of visual aids, 
and a showing of the War Department 
film, "Military Training" (TF 7-295). 
Approximately half the course time was 
devoted to practice teaching, with each 
practice period followed by a critique of 
the student teacher's methods. "A Manual 
for Ordnance Instructors," prepared by 
the Training Methods Branch, was pub- 
lished in February 1942 and was used as 
the basic text until publication of TM 
21-250 by the War Department a year 

later. The training methods course was 
later given to enlisted instructors of the 
Ordnance School, to bomb disposal offi- 
cers, and in abbreviated form to students 
in the Officer Candidate School. 

In accordance with War Department 
policy, Ordnance instructors were encour- 
aged to use training aids of all types, rang- 
ing from books and blackboards to motion 
pictures and cut-away models. In the early 
days of the war period up-to-date publica- 
tions were virtually nonexistent, and the 
only usable drawings were those made on 
the blackboard by the instructor. 24 Most 
of the printed manuals on hand had been 
prepared by the Field Service School in 
earlier years for Army extension courses. To 
bring these manuals up to date and to pro- 
duce others as rapidly as possible, a small 
publications section was formed, and dur- 
ing the winter of 1940-41 a growing staff 
of writers, editors, and illustrators prepared 
texts, charts, scenarios for training films, 
and other instructional material. An 
impressive list of Ordnance School texts 
soon appeared, including separate man- 
uals on telescopes, range finders, ammuni- 
tion, and other subjects. 25 Thousands of 
charts, maps, and photographs were pre- 
pared and reproduced for classroom use, 

-'- Computed from various tabulations in Hist of 
Ord School, OHF. 

The Ordnance School at Santa Anita, California, 
closed in May 1944 after graduating 8,488 students. 
Hist of MPTS. XI, 97, OHF. 

Hist of Ord School, p. 85, OHF. 

- J "Ordnance training literature, thus far. is woe- 
fully insufficient," the Chief of Ordnance wrote in 
May 1941. "We have only one War Department ap- 
proved Field Manual, which incidentally, is already 
out of date. Likewise, we have only one instructional 
type of Technical Manual which has been approved 
by the War Department." Ltr, CofOrd lo CO OTC, 
20 May 41, sub: Ordnance Training Literature, OO 
353/395, DRB AGO. 

Hist of MPTS, XI, 16, OHF. 



and models of many types of equipment 
were used in all sections of the school. Car- 
buretors, for example, were made of trans- 
parent plastic to give the students a chance 
to see exactly how a carburetor functioned, 
and models of small items of equipment 
were made ten or twenty times their actual 
size for demonstration to large classes. 26 

One of the most important training aids 
originated within the Ordnance School 
was a monthly magazine, The Ordnance Ser- 
geant In the fall of 1940, Sgt. Hugh E. 
Martin, a graduate of the first NCO course 
at Aberdeen and chief of the publications 
section of the school, observed that, how- 
ever effective the Ordnance School courses 
might be, something would be lacking in 
the instruction program if nothing were 
done to keep the enlisted specialists abreast 
of developments in ordnance after their 
graduation. 27 Sergeant Martin recom- 
mended that an "alumni magazine," con- 
taining descriptions of revised procedures 
and new materiel and answers to questions 
received from troops in the field, be pre- 
pared and distributed by the Ordnance 
School. This recommendation was 
promptly approved, and the first issue of 
The Ordnance Sergeant appeared in mimeo- 
graphed form in January 1941, with Ser- 
geant Martin as editor. 28 The first few 
issues had such a favorable reception that 
an improved reproduction process was 
adopted and the size of the magazine was 
increased to 100 pages. It was distributed 
free of charge to all Ordnance organiza- 
tions, and its circulation eventually passed 
the 25,000 mark. Many officers reported 
that wherever copies of The Ordnance Ser- 
geant were found in the dayrooms and 
libraries of Ordnance units, their smudged 
and dog-eared pages gave evidence of hav- 
ing been read and reread. 

The Officer Candidate School 

In the summer of 1940 Colonel Hatcher, 
foreseeing the need for hundreds of addi- 
tional officers to carry out Ordnance 
Department responsibilities, urged that 
authority be granted to institute an officer 
candidate training program, erect school 
buildings, and organize a corps of instruc- 
tors. i! * The War Department, however, was 
reluctant to approve the training of addi- 
tional officers at that time because so many 
Reservists had not yet been called to active 
duty, and it was not until the spring of 
1941 that the War Department authorized 
the various arms and services to establish 
Officer Candidate Schools (OCS). On 26 
April 1941 Ordnance was directed to open 
its OCS at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 
July, but with an initial quota of only fifty 
students. 30 

The first class at Aberdeen was made up 
of candidates selected chiefly from the 
Regular Army and National Guard by 

- 6 Lt. E. D. Roberts, "Seeing Is Believing," Army 
Ordnance, XXIX, 153 (1945), 418-19. See also illus- 
trated article in Life, XIX, 4 (1945), 42. Inspecting 
officers in January 1944 rated the training aids in use 
at the school "exceptionally good." Inspection Rpt on 
Ord School, 29 Jan 44, OO 353/6468, DRB AGO. 

57 Col. G. W. Outland, "The Birth of the Ordnance 
Sergeant," The Ordnance Sergeant. Ill, 1 (1942), 5-7. 

-* Sergeant Martin was awarded the Legion of 
Merit for his work as^editor of The Ordnance Sergeant. 
WD GO 44, 30 May 44. 

- 9 Interview, January 1950, with Colonel Outland, 
first commandant of the Ordnance Officer Candidate 
School. Establishment of Officer Candidate Schools 
had been envisaged in the National Defense Act of 
1920 and in Mobilization Regulations published by 
the War Department during the 1930's. 

:i " Ltr, TAG to GG's all armies and others, 26 Apr 
41, sub: Officer Candidate Schools, AG 352 (4-10- 
41), DRB AGO. For a discussion of War Department 
policy on officer candidate training in 1940 sec Rob- 
ert R. Palmer, Bell I. Wiley, and William R. Kcast, 
The Procurement and Training of Ground Combat Troops 
(Washington, 1948), pp. 325-28. 



OCS boards appointed by corps area or 
department commanders. 31 The group 
was housed on the second floor of the 
auxiliary barracks of the 40th Ordnance 
Company, and, for lack of better accom- 
modations, classes were held in the base- 
ment of the barracks. The officer 
candidates were instructed by the faculty 
of the Ordnance School, the OCS actually 
being a section within the school. The first 
course of study, adopted in July 1941, pro- 
vided a quick survey of both military and 
technical subjects, and allotted thirty-two 
hours to each of four technical specialties — 
small arms, artillery, ammunition, and 
automotive equipment. 32 Experience soon 
showed that this program needed elabora- 
tion and refinement. It made no provision 
for instruction in such essential subjects as 
camouflage, defense against aerial attack, 
and the use of weapons. It offered little 
opportunity for the candidates to become 
familiar with field operations, and the time 
allotted for the study of each category of 
Ordnance items was sufficient only for a 
sketchy orientation. 

Beginning with the third class, which 
entered in January 1942, the course was 
revised to include more specialized instruc- 
tion in technical subjects. 33 At the end of 
the eighth week of training each candidate 
chose one technical subject as his field of 
study for the remaining four weeks of the 
course. Toward the end of this period of 
specialization, the student went on an 
overnight bivouac and worked out a field 
problem that required him to apply his 
newly acquired knowledge. Throughout 
1942, because of the necessity for crowding 
both military and technical training into 
such a short period, the Ordnance OCS 
was unable to train its officer candidates 
with the desired degree of thoroughness. A 
single overnight bivouac did little to pre- 

pare them for the realities of combat oper- 
ations, and four weeks of technical 
instruction was not adequate preparation 
for dealing with practical problems of 
field maintenance. 

After the landings in North Africa in 
November 1942, reports from overseas 
commanders indicated that many service 
troops, in addition to their technical profi- 
ciency, needed more thorough training in 
adapting themselves to field conditions. 34 
Beginning in May 1943, therefore, a radi- 
cal change was made in the Ordnance 
OCS course. The entire period was given 
over to basic military subjects including 
rifle marksmanship, first aid, convoy oper- 
ations, sanitation, and field expedients. 
After completing this intensive course of 
military training and receiving their com- 
missions, the students entered upon the 
second phase of their training — twelve 
weeks of technical instruction during 
which they spent four weeks on "basic 
ordnance" and eight weeks on the study of 
a specialty such as small arms, ammuni- 
tion, or artillery. 

In addition to basic military training 
and physical conditioning, the Ordnance 
OCS constantly emphasized the selection 
and training of men for leadership. 35 The 
War Department directive authorizing 
officer candidate schools had stated that 
demonstrated leadership ability was to be 
"the basic and predominant consideration 
governing selection to officer candidate 

:!1 WD Cir 245, 26 Nov 41, and AR 625-5 pre- 
scribed the procedures for selecting officer candidates. 

12 The Ordnance OCS, Hist of MPTS, Vol. 100. 
p. 2, OHF. 

:if Ibid., p. 5. 

14 Ltr, GofOrd to CG ASF, 13 Apr 43, sub: Revi- 
sion Ordnance OC Training, OO 352.1 1/16447, 

rlfl For a description of leadership training of officer 
candidates in the Army Ground Forces, see Palmer, 
Wiley, and Keast, op. cit., pp. 334-35. 



schools," 38 but experience soon showed 
that the various OCS boards were sending 
many poorly qualified candidates to the 
Ordnance OCS. 37 Thus, the school not 
only had to teach the principles of leader- 
ship but also to devise means of evaluating 
the leadership qualities of the students so 
that those who were not up to standard 
could be eliminated. The methods em- 
ployed at Aberdeen to select and train 
students for military leadership were simi- 
lar to those used throughout the Army. 
They included close-order drill, the "floor 
rating" system, and subjection of students 
to constant pressure. The day-by-day judg- 
ments of instructors — many of whom were 
themselves recent graduates of the course 
they were teaching — played an important 
part, as did the impressions made by the 
candidates on their classmates. Some can- 
didates felt that in judging leadership 
ability, the emphasis placed on close-order 
drill was excessive and that too little 
weight was given to the individual's tech- 
nical knowledge and experience. Others 
felt that "lack of leadership qualities" was 
simply a convenient catch-all used by 
instructors in lieu of more specific criti- 
cism. Rightly or wrongly, more candidates 
were eliminated from the Ordnance OCS 
for leadership deficiencies than for any 
other reason. 48 

One of the most pressing problems facing 
the school throughout its first two years 
was the need for more barracks, more 
classrooms, more instructors, and huge 
quantities of teaching materials. The first 
classes in 1941 were small and entered at 
intervals of several weeks, but soon the 
quotas were doubled and tripled, and a 
new class was formed every week. During 
the first six months of 1943 the peak 
enrollment was reached when over 1,000 
students entered the school every month. 

Classes were then reduced to 200 each, 
beginning at intervals of two weeks, and 
late in the year the classes were limited to 
50 candidates each, entering at intervals 
of eight weeks. This schedule continued in 
effect with only minor changes throughout 
1944 and the first eight months of 1945. A 
total of 713 candidates received their com- 
missions during 1945, bringing the number 
of graduates for the 1941-45 period to 
approximately 13,000. 39 

Replacement Training 

The Ordnance Replacement Training 
Center (ORTC) was activated at Aber- 
deen Proving Ground on 1 January 1941 
to train the Ordnance quota of men 
brought into the Army under the Selective 
Service Act. Its mission was to receive 
newly inducted men from reception cen- 
ters, give them basic military and technical 
training, and then transfer them as indi- 
vidual replacements for existing units, as 
cadre for new units, or as specialist stu- 
dents for the Ordnance School. 40 After the 
peacetime "defense" training turned into 

16 See also WD Cir 126, 28 Apr 42, for further de- 
tails on the selection of candidates. 

17 "The boards sent to the school," the OCS his- 
torians wrote, "a student body which ranged in qual- 
ifications from the brilliant to the dull-witted and 
from the born leaders to the uninspired followers." 
Hist of MPTS, Vol. 100, p. 9, OHF. This problem 
was not peculiar to the Ordnance OCS, but was 
Army wide. 

,s For a more detailed description of the leadership 
deficiencies of officer candidates, see Palmer, Wiley, 
and Keast, op. at., pp. 345-50. 

:, » Hist of MPTS, XVI. Supplement 1, 16, OHF. 

10 The terminology applied to training activities in 
1941 was sometimes confusing. "Replacements" were 
men assigned to organizations either to replace actual 
losses (loss replacements) or to bring the organization 
initially up to strength (filler replacements). A cadre 
was a small group of trained officers and men who 
formed the nucleus around which a new unit was or- 



actual war training in December 1941, the 
ORTC continued as the focal point for 
Ordnance replacement training through- 
out World War II. 

Training Under MTP 9-1, 1941-42 

The basic military and technical train- 
ing given at the ORTC during the first 
half of 1941 was guided by Mobilization 
Training Program 9-1, dated 1 October 
1940, which prescribed a course of instruc- 
tion for all Ordnance enlisted replace- 
ments during their first four weeks in the 
Army. 41 Two weeks were devoted exclu- 
sively to basic military subjects and two 
weeks to a combination of basic military 
and basic technical instruction. In contrast 
to the more elaborate training programs 
developed in later years, this early 1941 
schedule was sketchy. It allotted a dispro- 
portionate amount of time to close-order 
drill and made no provision for teaching 
subjects such as map reading and night 
operations. Nevertheless, it was considered 
adequate because the four weeks of basic 
training were intended to serve only as the 
first phase of a recruit's military education. 

The original version of MTP 9-1 made 
no provision for keeping trainees in the 
ORTC itself for specialized technical 
training, but as the volume of recruits 
mounted in 1941 it became impractical to 
transfer all of them elsewhere for such 
training, and technical sections had to be 
hastily organized. The technical courses, 
ranging in length from six to eight weeks, 
were not designed to produce highly 
skilled specialists but to turn out men who 
could fit into Ordnance units as basic re- 
placements and then gain greater pro- 
ficiency through experience on the job. 
For this reason, the courses covered only 
the most essential data. Emphasis was 

placed on the nomenclature and function 
of each item, its assembly and disassembly, 
and the repairs normally made by an Ord- 
nance maintenance company in the field. 
All the courses devoted as much time as 
possible to practical work, and all included 
at least one brief field exercise. 

The technical sections faced a great 
many difficulties in getting started during 
the summer of 1 94 1 . There was a shortage 
of virtually everything except students. 
Barracks had to be used as classrooms 
until new shop buildings were completed, 
and many classes had to be held outdoors 
during the summer. There were practi- 
cally no visual aids, and even items of 
equipment for observation and study were 
scarce. The automotive section, for exam- 
ple, opened in July with only one M3 tank, 
one scout car, and ten condemned trucks 
in its stock room. 

Recognizing that instructors are the 
vitally important "machine tools" of a 
training center, the ORTC staff imme- 
diately took steps to train a corps of com- 
petent instructors for both technical and 
military subjects. Two hundred of the most 
promising men were withdrawn from the 
first contingents to arrive at Aberdeen, 
given an intensive course of instruction in 
basic military subjects, and then assigned 
to training battalions, where they filled all 
cadre positions from first sergeant to cor- 
poral. As time went on, more and more 
men were given "cadre training" and the 
instruction was broadened to cover tech- 
nical as well as military subjects. 42 A re- 
lated program of instructor training was 
launched early in 1942 to improve the 

" Copy In AG 300.8 MTP (8 Feb 40) (1), DRB 

12 (1) Hist ofMPTS, XIV, 216, OHF. (2) PSP 60, 
Ordnance Military Training, 1939-1944, Sec. V, 



technique of teaching. All enlisted instruc- 
tors in the technical sections were required 
to attend an evening class each week for 
six weeks to study the principles set forth 
in FM 21-5, "Military Training," to dis- 
cuss examinations and visual aids, and to 
practice public speaking. This combined 
program of training in military subjects 
and teacher training eventually became a 
permanent feature of the ORTC curricu- 
lum and was made a requirement in all 
cadre training. 13 

Although Ordnance troops were given 
more military training during 1941 than 
had ever before been considered neces- 
sary, inspecting officers of G-3 found that 
the military training given at the ORTC 
in the summer of 1941 was not sufficiently 
thorough and was inferior to the technical 
training. The inspecting officers attributed 
this condition largely to the fact that most 
of the instructors were Reserve officers 
who had been schooled primarily in tech- 
nical subjects rather than in the command 
of troops. 44 The Chief of Ordnance 
acknowledged the soundness of this criti- 
cism and replied that it was an unavoid- 
able consequence since sufficient funds for 
training Ordnance Reserve officers had 
not been available during the prewar 
years. General Wesson immediately di- 
rected the ORTC officers to give constant 
attention to raising the level of military 
training. Steady progress resulted during 
the following months, and by the summer 
of 1942 an inspecting officer reported that 
the ORTC military training program was 
"exceptionally well conducted." 4fl 

A number of factors contributed to this 
improvement. One was the Congressional 
action in August 1941 extending the Se- 
lective Service Act for another year and 
lengthening the period of training from 
twelve to eighteen months. Another was 

the approval by the G-3 Division of a new 
Ordnance training program that more 
than doubled the number of hours allotted 
to basic military training — 254 hours in 
contrast to 102 hours in the 1940 MTP. 
The new program also provided that some 
military training be given during the 
weeks of technical instruction so that the 
benefits of the initial training would not 
be lost. Most of the additional time for 
military training was devoted to close- 
order drill, physical training, marches and 
bivouacs, inspections, and running the 
obstacle course. 46 

The most important stimulus to im- 
provement of training in 1941 was the out- 
break of war in December. The attack on 
Pearl Harbor put a stop to all argument 
over the need for military training. In- 
structors and trainees were no longer pre- 
paring for a war that might or might not 
come, but were now definitely committed 
to fight to the finish against powerful 

At the same time, the need for more 
rapid mobilization of troops made it neces- 
sary to shorten the time for replacement 
training. On 19 December 1941 the War 
Department ordered all Replacement 
Training Centers (except those of the In- 

1 ! Imerv, 10 Jul 50, with Col Paul C. Kelly, former 
director of ORTC training. 

" Ltr. TAG to CofOrd, 9 Aug 41, sub: Rpt of 
Training Inspection, ORTC, OO 353/.! 19. DRB 

43 Memo, Lt Col William C. Bennett, Jr., for Dir 
of Training. ASF, 3 Jul 42, sub: Training Inspection 
of ORTC. Aberdeen . . . , OO 353/986, DRB 

MTP 9-1, Ordnance MTP for . . . Replace- 
ments. . . . 21 Aug 41. AG 381 (9-12-39). DRB 

The obstacle course was opened in August 1941. It 
extended over approximately 500 yards of wooded 
territory and consisted of hurdles, log mazes, rope 
climbs, a rope traverse across a water-filled ditch, 
and a gas chamber. Hist of MPTS, XIV, 29-30. 



fantry, Armored Force, and Signal Corps) 
to reduce the training cycle to eight 
weeks. 47 The ORTC did not return to the 
longer training schedule until June 1942, 
but it adopted a forty-eight hour week as 
partial compensation for the time lost 
under the shortened program, and gave 
more instruction at night. During the early 
months of 1942 the average trainee was 
given four weeks of basic military training 
and four weeks of technical training, but 
the demand for replacements was so great 
that many individuals were transferred 
before completing even this shortened 

ASF Influence on Replacement 
Training in 1942 

When the War Department was reor- 
ganized in March 1942, the training divi- 
sion of Army Service Forces replaced the 
G-3 Division of the General Staff as super- 
visor of training in the technical services. 
The new office, headed by Brig. Gen. 
Clarence R. Huebner, soon began to exer- 
cise much closer control over military 
training within the technical services than 
G-3 had ever attempted. The need for 
more intensive and realistic instruction 
was emphasized, and the chiefs of services 
were bluntly ordered to "give constant at- 
tention to the urgent problem of training" 
and not to shunt it aside as a matter of 
secondary importance. 48 

Within the Ordnance Department need 
for the increased emphasis on training was 
recognized by General Campbell in June 
1942 when he formed a Military Training 
Division, headed by General Hatcher, and 
placed it on the same administrative level 
as the other divisions in the Department. 4 ' 1 
At the same time, a Civilian Advisory 
Council, composed of noted educators and 

industrialists, was appointed to advise the 
Military Training Division. 50 The mem- 
bers of the council conferred at intervals 
with Ordnance training officers and on 
several occasions visited Aberdeen and 
other training centers. 

One of the first matters to which the 
ASF training staff turned its attention was 
standardization of the basic military train- 
ing given at the replacement centers op- 
erated by the technical services. In August 
1942 it issued a detailed four-week train- 
ing schedule to be followed by all replace- 
ment centers and unit training centers 
under its jurisdiction. 11 The new program 
required a complete revision of the Ord- 
nance schedule of basic military training. 
By June 1942 the ORTC had returned to 
its longer training schedule and was devot- 
ing more than five weeks to basic military 
training under the 254-hour program 
adopted the year before. The new ASF 
schedule reduced this to less than 4 weeks, 
or 163 hours, and sharply reduced the time 

47 Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 19 Dec 41, sub: Reduction 
in Length of Training Program at RTC's, AG 320.2 
(12-17-41). DRB AGO. Return to the longer cycle 
was directed bv the War Department on 28 Febru- 
ary 1942. See AG 320.2 (2-3-42), DRB AGO, 

4S Ltr. CG SOS to Chiefs of Services, 2 May 42, 
sub: Training of Troops in SOS. OO 353/858, DRB 

'■' In January 1943 General Kutz replaced Gen- 
eral Hatcher, who became chief of the Field Service 

* w The members of the Civilian Advisory Council 
were Dr. Kaufman T. Compton of Massachusetts In- 
stitute of Technology, Dr. Robert E. Doherty of Car- 
negie Institute of Technology, Dr. J. E. Johnson of 
General Motors. Dr. Harry P. Hammond of Pennsyl- 
vania State College, Dr. Alexander R. Stevenson of 
General Electric. Dr. Ivan C. Crawford of the Uni- 
versity .of Michigan, and Dr. Arthur C. Willard of the 
University of Illinois. 

Basic Training Program for all RTC's ... of 
SOS, Aug 42, incl to ltr, CG SOS to CofOrd, 28 Aug 
42, sub: Basic Training Program, OO 353/1060, 
DRB AGO. See also draft history of ASF training of 
replacements and units, SPTR 314.7 (1 Jan 45), DRB 



allotted to each of the four main subjects — 
close-order drill, physical training, 
marches and bivouacs, and inspections. In 
two respects the new program was a major 
forward step: it marked the end of the 
period when close-order drill was allotted 
more time than any other training topic, 
and it more than doubled the number of 
hours for rifle marksmanship. Events were 
soon to prove that the decision to limit 
basic training to 163 hours was unsound 
and that the virtual elimination of marches 
and bivouacs from the program was a 
serious mistake. 

Although Ordnance training centers 
had introduced rifle marksmanship train- 
ing in the fall of 1 9 4 1 5 - and had given it 
more and more attention during the first 
six months of 1942, marksmanship train- 
ing remained one of the chief weaknesses 
of Ordnance training until late in 1942. 
There was no rifle range at the ORTC on 
which trainees could fire for record, and 
the supply of both ammunition and rifles 
for training purposes was strictly rationed. 
In its survey of replacement training in the 
spring of 1942 the ASF training division 
had discovered that the same conditions 
prevailed at many other replacement 
training centers, and in July it therefore 
had directed all of them to intensify their 
instruction in rifle marksmanship. " 3 

In November 1942, when a second Ord- 
nance Training Center was opened at 
Camp Santa Anita in California, Brig. 
Gen. Bethel W. Simpson was transferred 
from Aberdeen, along with a large part of 
the ORTC staff, and placed in command 
of the new center. ,+ Colonel Outland, 
commandant of the Ordnance School, was 
then assigned to head the ORTC, with 
Col. Paul C. Kelly, a retired infantry 
officer back on active duty, as his director 
of training. To these two officers fell the 

responsibility for administering the new 
ASF training program after a large pro- 
portion of the experienced ORTC officers 
and enlisted men had been transferred to 
Santa Anita. 

"One of the first things I did after reach- 
ing Aberdeen," Colonel Kelly reported, 
"was to eliminate the parades held every 
Saturday morning. Parades have their 
place in military life, we all agree, but it 
shocked me to see so many thousands of 
man-hours desperately needed for training 
being wasted on formal parades — and 
Colonel Outland agreed with me." Sr> The 
company officers were required to conduct 
training personally instead of delegating 
responsibility to NCO's. Company officers 
were directed to turn over the administra- 
tive paper work to their first sergeants and 
then go out to the training areas and per- 
sonally take over the task of training their 

Under the leadership of Colonels Out- 
land and Kelly, close attention was given 
to what may be called "human relations" 
in dealing with the new recruits who ar- 
rived at Aberdeen. A friendly, under- 
standing attitude was found to be most 
effective in converting the civilian to a sol- 
dier capable of accepting the hardships 
and responsibilities of modern warfare. 
Trucks were kept on hand at the railway 
station to meet every train bringing men 
to the ORTC, and a mess hall stayed open 
all night to give new arrivals a hot meal. 
"We even had their bunks made up for 

"• 2 Memo. G-3 for CofOrd, 9 Oct 41, sub: Rifle 
Marksmanship, and 8 inds. OO 353.14/8, DRB 
AGO. Before the summer of 1 94 1 , Ordnance troops 
were given training on the pistol rather than the 

Memo. CG SOS for CofOrd, 8 Jul 42. sub: Small 
Arms Record Firing, OO 353/4302. DRB AGO. 

For further details on the Santa Anita training 
center, see OTC Hist Santa Anita. OHF. 
r>; ' Interv with Col Kelly, 18 Jul 50. 



for them the first night," Colonel Kelly re- 
ported. "Not that we coddled anybody or 
neglected discipline — we just treated them 
like human beings. And our system paid 
dividends in the form of better training." r,,i 
The staff psychiatrist at the station hospi- 
tal supplemented this policy by giving new 
recruits a series of informal talks on adjust- 
ment to Army life. When experiments in 
the fall of 1942 showed that these "mental 
hygiene talks" helped trainees to overcome 
homesickness and resentment toward mili- 
tary regimentation, the talks were made a 
regular feature of ORTC training. 57 A 
cleverly illustrated booklet called "The 
Story of Mack and Mike" was given to all 
trainees, showing them how Mike adjusted 
normally to the Army routine while Mack 
made himself unhappy by resenting every 
regulation and feeling sorry for himself. 

More Combat Realism in Training 

In spite of the efforts made during 1942 
to improve replacement training in all 
branches of the Army, results were not 
entirely satisfactory. The earliest reports 
received from overseas observers in late 
1942 and early 1943 praised the technical 
skill of Ordnance and other service troops 
but complained that some were deficient 
in military training and physical condi- 
tioning. One observer, for example, spoke 
of the "backbreaking work" that had been 
required to get supplies ashore in North 
Africa and urged that service troops be 
physically hardened before being sent 
overseas. "They cannot be conditioned" 
he added, "by games, calisthenics, or 
marching; they must actually manhandle 
cargo for long hours, during darkness, in- 
clement weather, and rough seas." 5S As a 
result of such reports, the keynote of Ord- 
nance replacement training during 1943 

became combat realism. Although Ord- 
nance troops were not officially classified 
as fighting soldiers, strenuous efforts were 
made to toughen them, physically and 
mentally, to withstand the rigors of field 
operations and to teach them to work and 
fight alongside combat troops. Less time 
was spent in close-order drill and inspec- 
tions, and more attention was given to liv- 
ing and working under simulated combat 

The most important single step taken 
during 1943 to improve the training of re- 
placements was the addition of four weeks 
to the training period.' 9 In addition to 
lengthening the training time, the new 
program overcame one of the major diffi- 
culties of the past by allowing an addi- 
tional four weeks for processing men in 
and out of the training centers, travel, and 
furloughs at completion of training. 

While the basic training program was 
extended and intensified during 1943, im- 
proved methods of teaching were also 
adopted. Instructors became more pro- 
ficient as they gained experience, and an 
ever-increasing supply of training aids 
contributed to the effectiveness of their 
teaching. Because of the long hours of in- 

50 Ibid. 

57 (1) Maj. Robert R. Cohen, "Mental Hygiene for 
the Trainees,'' The American Journal of Psychiatry , Vol. 
100, No. 1 (1943). (2) Maj. Robert R. Cohen; "Fac- 
tors in Adjustment to Army Life," War Medicine , V. 
2 (1944), 83-91. 

b " Lessons Learned from Recent Amphibious Op- 
erations in North Africa, incl to memo, CG SOS for 
CofOrd, 12 Feb 43. OO 350.05/2444, DRB AGO. 
See also Training in the Ground Army, AGF Hist 
Study 1 1, p. 39, DRB AGO, 

5B Memo, G-3 for CG ASF, 13Jun 43, sub: Loss 
Replacements, ASF 320.2 General (12 Jun 43), DRB 
AGO. The Civilian Advisory Council of the Ord- 
nance Military Training Division recommended in 
June 1943 that the training period for Ordnance 
units and replacements be extended to six months. 
Ltr, Dr. Doherty to Military Training Div, 8 Jul 43, 
OO 353/4281-4282, DRB AGO. 



STREET-FIGHTING TRAINING EXERCISE under simulated combat conditions at 
Aberdeen ORTC. 

struction and the vigorous outdoor activ- 
ity to which most of them were not 
accustomed, the trainees tended to become 
drowsy in classes and drop off to sleep 
when the instruction was dull and unin- 
teresting. Every effort was therefore made 
to present each subject in an interesting 
and forceful manner and to use the most 
effective teaching techniques. In teaching 
military courtesy, for example, the lecture 
method was almost entirely discarded in 
favor of dramatic presentations. With the 
aid of several assistants, the instructor ar- 
ranged a series of brief skits, often sparked 
with humor, to demonstrate the various 
principles of military courtesy and thus 
enliven an otherwise dull subject. 

Instruction in booby traps, for which 
eight hours was allotted in the summer of 

1943, lent itself admirably to the use of 
various tricks and surprises to hold the in- 
terest of the trainees. The subject was in- 
troduced to each class by a training film, 
followed by a lecture during which large- 
scale working models were used as training 
aids. The instructor supplemented his 
presentation of the theory by actually wir- 
ing several booby traps in the classroom. 
When the men went outside for a ten- 
minute break they found that the grounds 
had been wired with countless booby traps 
containing small firecrackers. The opening 
of the latrine door, for example, set off a 
loud blast, and the unsuspecting students 
who picked up helmets or bottles of Coca- 
Cola lying on the ground were startled by 
other explosions. The rest periods were as 
instructive as the lectures. 



Perhaps the best known and most effec- 
tive training aid developed at the ORTC 
was a loose-leaf notebook on basic training 
called "The Ordnance Soldier's Guide." 
Every trainee was given a copy of this 
notebook to carry to his classes. First issued 
as a sheaf of mimeographed sheets clipped 
to a board, it was later revised and 
printed. The "Guide" covered all the sub- 
jects included in the basic training pro- 
gram, from "ammunition" and "map 
reading" to "World War II." The brief 
text was clear and easily understood, and 
was supplemented by scores of illustra- 
tions, most of which were miniature repro- 
ductions of large charts used in the 
classrooms. A distinctive feature of the 
"Guide" was its provision of blank spaces 
under many topics for the trainees to write 
in the data supplied during classroom lec- 
tures and demonstrations. When properly 
filled out, the "Guide" became the sol- 
dier's own notebook to take with him 
when he left the ORTC and keep for fu- 
ture reference. 

It was, of course, necessary to adopt 
teaching methods suitable to the mental 
ability and previous experience of the 
trainees. There were wide variations 
among the men assigned to Ordnance but, 
generally speaking, they were well above 
the Army average in mental ability and 
mechanical aptitude. A comprehensive 
survey by the ORTC classification section 
during 1943 showed that the average 
Army General Classification Test (AGCT) 
score for the 25,000 white recruits assigned 
to the training center during the year was 
107.8, and the average Mechanical Apti- 
ture Test (MAT) score was 106.5. The cor- 
responding scores for Negro trainees were 
much lower— 79.8 for the AGCT and 77.9 
for the MAT— but during 1943 only 8 per- 
cent of the arrivals at the ORTC were 

Negroes. Half the white trainees fell into 
Classes I and II on the basis of AGCT 
scores, as compared to 36 percent for the 
Army as a whole, and only 18 percent 
were in Classes IV and V as compared to 
30 percent for the entire Army. More than 
half the white trainees and nearly one 
third of the Negro trainees were high 
school or college graduates. 60 

The 1944-45 Period 

The 1943 pattern of replacement train- 
ing carried over into 1944 with relatively 
few changes. The new program (MPT 
21-3) issued by ASF in May 1944 reduced 
the number of hours of close-order drill 
from twenty to twelve and thus continued 
the trend started by the first ASF basic 
training program in 1942. Close-order 
drill was now allotted less than 5 percent 
of the total basic training time in contrast 
to more than 20 percent in the 1 940 and 
1941 Ordnance programs. Two basic sub- 
jects were given increased time — physical 
training 20 hours instead of 14, and rifle 
marksmanship 75 hours instead of 68. 
Marksmanship thus continued to get far 
more attention than any other subject in 
the basic training curriculum and was now 
supplemented by eight hours of familiar- 
ization with the carbine and six hours of 
bayonet drill. Because of the heavy toll 
taken by malaria among American troops 
overseas, the new program specifically pro- 
vided that four hours be devoted to 
malaria control measures. 61 

B " Annual Report of Basic Trainees Received at 
ORTC, 1943, Classification and Assignment Sec, 
ORTC, OHF. For corresponding figures on other 
branches of the Army, see Palmer, Wiley, and Keast, 
op. cit., pp. 17-18. 

61 In September 1943, WD Cir 223 stated that in 
one active theatre malaria had sent ten times as many 
soldiers to hospitals as had battle injuries. See also 
WD Cir 48, 3 Feb 44. 



There were occasional minor changes 
and shifts of emphasis in the program of 
technical instruction at the ORTC during 
1944 and 1945, but the broad outline re- 
mained the same as in 1943. The trend to- 
ward offering more and more practical 
work continued in the shop and classroom 
phases and during the field exercises. All 
the technical sections changed their train- 
ing programs at intervals as new equip- 
ment came into use by the Army and as 
reports from overseas recommended re- 
vised procedures. But the number of such 
reports from overseas observers was small. 
No Ordnance officers visited any of the 
active theatres to evaluate the training of 
Ordnance troops until July 1944 when 
Colonel Slaughter, commandant of the 
Ordnance School, toured the ETO for 
several weeks. 

During 1944, as during 1943, more men 
were trained at the ORTC for automotive 
maintenance work than for any other 
technical specialty. During 1943, 26 per- 
cent of all white trainees had been assigned 
for training as tank or truck mechanics, 
and in 1944 the percentage rose for a time 
to 35. Clerk-typists, supply clerks, and 
truck drivers formed the next largest 
groups. Each of the traditional Ordnance 
specialties — artillery mechanic, small 
arms mechanic, and instrument repair- 
man — accounted on the average for only 
about 5 or 10 percent of the total training 
load. 62 

The number of men in training during 
1944 gradually declined from the peak but 
rose again in the summer of 1945 as the 
Army-wide redeployment program got 
well under way. In August 1945, over 
5,000 men were received for training at the 
Aberdeen ORTC — more than twice the 
average monthly arrival rate of 1943. The 
number of arrivals quickly declined dur- 

ing the months after the Japanese sur- 
render. 63 

Unit Training 

There were three more or less distinct 
phases of Ordnance unit training during 
World War II. The first opened in Febru- 
ary 1941 and was virtually completed by 
the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. 
The second began in March 1942 when 
the first "affiliated units" were organized. 
It overlapped the third phase which began 
in May 1942 with the opening of a large 
UTC at Camp Perry near Toledo, Ohio, 
and ended in the fall of 1943 when most of 
the UTC's were closed. Some unit training 
continued during 1944 and 1945, chiefly 
at Red River in Texas, and Flora in Mis- 
sissippi, but on a much reduced scale. 

The 1941 Program 

In the late summer of 1940, in response 
to a War Department directive, the Ord- 
nance Department drew up three mobi- 
lization training programs for Ordnance 
units. By early October these programs 
were approved by the G-3 Division and 
published as MTP 9-2, for maintenance 
companies; MTP 9-3, for ammunition 

62 Tabulation in ORTC Hist, Vol. VI, Pt. 2, p. 23, 
OHF. Very few Negro recruits were trained as me- 
chanics because they lacked the education and ex- 
perience for such training. Most were assigned as 
munitions workers, carpenter-painters, truck drivers, 
or clerks. 

fi:! The number of arrivals, in round figures, at 
ORTC between 1941 and 1945 were: 15,000 in 1941, 
30,000 in 1942, 33,000 in 1943, 24,000 in 1944, and 
20,000 through 31 August 1945, a total of 122,000. 

These figures are based on charts prepared by the 
Morning Reports Section, ORTC, included in Hist 
of MPTC. Vol. XIV, and supplements, OHF. The 
figures for each year have been rounded off to the 
nearest thousand. See also Rpts DRB AGO. 



companies; and MTP 9-4, for depot com- 
panies. All three programs had the same 
general objectives: (1) "to train a basic 
ordnance soldier," (2) "to train the in- 
dividual in the particular duties he will be 
required to perform in a company," and 
(3) "to produce a thoroughly trained . . . 
company which will function as a team." 61 
While these MTP's were being prepared, 
a schedule for training Ordnance units at 
three Unit Training Centers was drawn up 
in accordance with the existing War De- 
partment troop basis. This schedule called 
for training 26 maintenance companies at 
the Aberdeen UTC, 10 ammunition com- 
panies at the Savanna UTC, and 6 ammu- 
nition companies at the Raritan UTC. 

The companies were scheduled to re- 
main in training for thirteen weeks, but 
War Department mobilization plans pro- 
vided that units should be ready for field 
duty, in case of emergency, at any time 
after one month. Col. Herman U. Wagner, 
commanding officer of the Aberdeen 
UTC, therefore decided to devote the first 
four weeks exclusively to military training 
in order to prepare the companies to op- 
erate under field conditions as soon as pos- 
sible. Attention was then turned to tech- 
nical subjects. Here a difficult problem 
arose because there were only a few mem- 
bers of the UTC staff who were technical 
experts, and equipment for technical 
training was scarce. The only tank avail- 
able to the Aberdeen UTC, for example, 
was of World War I vintage. As none of the 
companies had enough competent instruc- 
tors or enough materiel to provide tech- 
nical training on all classes of equipment, 
Colonel Wagner centralized technical in- 
struction along the lines followed at the 
Ordnance School. All equipment was 
pooled and placed at the disposal of a staff 
of instructors who taught regular classes in 

small arms, artillery, automotive vehicles, 
and fire control instruments." 5 

When the first thirteen companies de- 
parted on 25 June, taking with them most 
of the experienced cadre, they were re- 
placed by men for thirteen other com- 
panies. In most respects, the conditions 
under which these units started their train- 
ing were even less satisfactory than those 
for the first companies. The enlisted men 
came directly from reception centers, in- 
stead of from the ORTC, and arrived 
with no previous military training. With 
the exception of one officer and four en- 
listed men retained from each of the first 
companies, the cadremen for the second 
group came directly from the ORTC 
where they had been given only eight 
weeks of training. The Aberdeen UTC 
was thus faced with the task of starting 
from scratch to give thirteen companies 
basic military training, technical training, 
and unit training all within a period of 
thirteen weeks, and with only a skeleton 
staff of experienced personnel. 86 

Under the direction of Col. W. I. Wil- 
son, who became chief of the Aberdeen 
UTC in June, and later under Maj. A. R. 
Del Campo, the procedures followed in 
training the first thirteen companies were 
used to train the second group. Basic mili- 
tary training was given within the com- 
panies by company officers and enlisted 
cadre, and technical training was cen- 
tralized under the direction of competent 
instructors. An increased allotment of tools 
and materiel was available for these units, 
however, and mobile shops arrived during 
the summer. One of the highlights of the 

64 MTP 9-2. 1 Oct 40, AG 300.8 MTP (8 Feb 40) 
(1), DRB AGO. 

65 For a detailed training schedule, see Hist of 
MPTS, XV, 12-15, OHF, 

86 Interv with Lt Col A. R. Del Campo, Feb 50. 



training period was the arrival of thirty 
new tanks, just off the assembly line at the 
new Chrysler Tank Arsenal, for emergency 
modification before shipment to the British 
forces in North Africa. In September, at 
the end of their thirteen weeks of training, 
the companies were sent to their field 
assignments, and, by order of the War 
Department, the Aberdeen UTC was in- 
activated. It had completed the training 
of twenty-six maintenance companies and 
had met the requirements for Ordnance 
maintenance units under the existing 
troop basis. 67 

In the meantime, the other two Ord- 
nance UTC's, at Raritan Arsenal and 
Savanna Ordnance Depot, were training 
ammunition companies. The Raritan 
UTC, activated in January 1941, trained 
six ammunition companies during the year 
and was then placed on stand-by status. 68 
The UTC at Savanna Ordnance Depot 
was activated early in February by a cadre 
from Raritan Arsenal/ 1 " Five ammunition 
companies were trained during the next 
three months, according to MTP 9-3, and 
in June the training of five more ammuni- 
tion companies began. The large percent- 
age of illiterates among the men in this 
second group posed a serious problem for 
the UTC staff since the men could not 
qualify as members of ammunition com- 
panies until they had learned to read the 
labels on boxes. At the conclusion of the 
training period, there were no assignments 
for these companies, and they remained at 
the depot until the end of the year, work- 
ing part of the time as ammunition han- 
dlers during a period of labor shortage. 
The Savanna UTC was then inactivated 
in January 1942. 70 

During the winter of 1941-42, while the 
question of the responsibility for unit 
training was being threshed out at the 

General Staff level, the training of units 
by the Ordnance Department came virtu- 
ally to a standstill. Three ammunition 
companies were trained at Raritan early 
in 1942 but, generally speaking, service 
units of all kinds were trained during this 
period by the combat arms rather than by 
the technical services. Ordnance units 
that were organic to infantry divisions, for 
example, were trained by the divisions 
rather than by the Ordnance Depart- 
ment. This policy continued in effect after 
the reorganization of the War Depart- 
ment in March 1942, largely because the 
Army Service Forces had practically no 
facilities for training units, while the Army 
Ground and Army Air Forces had exten- 
sive unit training programs in operation. 
The directive establishing the new Army 
organization provided that the using com- 
mand would train the units, but the ASF, 
in addition to the responsibility for train- 
ing all units required for its own installa- 
tions, was also directed to train certain 
units for the AGF and AAF. 71 This direc- 
tive authorized the ASF to proceed with a 
large-scale program of unit training during 
1942 as soon as training centers could be 

Recruitment and Training of 
Affiliated Units, 1942 

The resumption of unit training in the 
Ordnance Department began when the 
so-called affiliated units were formed in 
the spring of 1942. At the end of February, 

67 (l) Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 18 Sep 41, sub: Addi- 
tional ORTC Capacity, AG 320.2 (9-13-41), DRB 
AGO. (2) WD GO 9, OTG : 30 Sep 41. 

BS Hist of Raritan Arsenal, Vol. I, Ch. 5, OHF. 

oa Hist of Savanna Ord Depot, Vol. I. Pt. 2, pp. 
109-28, OHF. 

; " Ibid. 

" WDCir 59. 2 Mar 42. 



a short time before the reorganization of 
the War Department was announced. 
Ordnance was assigned the responsibility 
for training two base regiments that were 
urgently required for overseas shipment 
within three months, Since the time was 
so short and Ordnance had no unit train- 
ing center at which to train base regi- 
ments, Col. C. Wingate Reed, chief of the 
Military Personnel and Training Branch, 
proposed that the Department enlist the 
aid of commercial organizations in recruit- 
ing for these units mechanics who were 
already skilled in heavy maintenance 
work. He believed that these mechanics, 
with a minimum of military training and 
some familiarization with Ordnance pro- 
cedures, would be able to function as 
maintenance troops in a very short time. 
He based his belief on the proposition that 
it is easier to train a mechanic to be a sol- 
dier than to train a soldier to be a me- 
chanic.! 2 

General Wesson approved Colonel 
Reed's proposal, and on 14 March 1942 
the War Department authorized Ord- 
nance to recruit two affiliated base regi- 
ments, a maintenance battalion, and a 
maintenance company, with a combined 
strength of 300 officers and 5,000 enlisted 
men. 73 Since no single commercial organ- 
ization was capable of providing such a 
large number of skilled mechanics, the 
Ordnance Department turned for assist- 
ance to the NADA. With a total member- 
ship of over 40,000 automobile dealers, 
most of whom employed mechanics in 
their repair shops, the NADA was admi- 
rably suited to serve as a connecting link 
between the needs of the Ordnance De- 
partment and the skilled manpower in 
commercial garages across the country. 71 

Unlike other technical services, the Ord- 
nance Department had had no previous 

experience in recruiting and training af- 
filiated units. 75 No plans had been pre- 
pared during the prewar years for the or- 
ganization of such units, nor had commer- 
cial organizations been alerted to the pos- 
sibility that they would be called upon to 
recruit personnel. As a result, plans had to 
be formulated and put into effect in great 

The two regiments were destined for 
shipment to North Africa where the Ger- 
man forces were then pushing eastward 
and threatening Alexandria. Strategic 
plans required that the regiments be ready 
for embarkation by the end of June, thus 
leaving only three months to recruit, 
equip, and train them. Within the six 
weeks from 15 March to the end of April, 
a whirlwind recruiting campaign was con- 
ducted and a total of 350 officers and 
8,500 men were recruited — a number sub- 
stantially greater than was required. 

Early in May the two regiments re- 
ported for training at Camp Sutton on the 

' - Interv, 25 Jan 50, with Capt Champlin F. Buck, 
Jr., executive officer to Colonel Reed during 1942. 

"An affiliated military unit," General Wesson 
wrote, "is one whose activities so resemble the civil- 
ian occupation of its members that it is possible to se- 
lect personnel from civil life for similar assignments 
in the Army, enlist or commission this personnel in 
the Reserve, and call the organization out as an entire 
unit." Ltr, Gen Wesson to Mr. Harry Sommers, 
President NADA, 17 Mar 42, OO 322.1/225, DRB 

T:l Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 14 Mar 42, sub: Constitu- 
tion and Activation of Certain Ordnance Units, 
SPAG 320.2 (2-18-42), DRB AGO. These were the 
301st and 302d Ord Regts (Base), the 47th Ord Bn, 
and the 506th Ord Co (HM). 

7J (1) Col. C. W. Reed, "Affiliated Units." NADA 
Bulletin, XV, 4 (1943). (2) Col. C. W. Reed, "The 
Ordnance Affiliated Units," Army Ordnance, XXVIII, 
148 (1945), 75-7 7. (3) Ltr, CofOrd to Sommers, 
NADA, 17 Mar 42. OO 322.1/225, DRB AGO. 

7S Both the Signal Corps and the Medical Depart- 
ment had made plans during the 1930's for forming 
affiliated units and had actually activated such units 
in 1941. 



outskirts of the little town of Monroe, 
North Carolina. Camp Sutton was a new 
temporary divisional camp at which vir- 
tually no facilities or equipment had been 
provided before the arrival of the troops. 713 
The men had to pitch tents for shelter 
and, as no sewage system had been in- 
stalled, were forced to spend much of their 
valuable time digging latrines. The train- 
ing program consisted of basic military 
training and familiarization with Ord- 
nance materiel. Because of the lack of ade- 
quate facilities for either kind of instruc- 
tion, improvisation was the order of the 
day. The local high school, the State 
Guard armory, and various small shops 
and warehouses were converted to train- 
ing purposes, and the officers and men who 
served as instructors studied the hand- 
books at night to keep a jump ahead of 
their students. The arrival of a cadre of 
veteran instructors from the Ordnance 
School helped, but the lack of heavy 
organizational equipment continued to 
handicap the training. 77 

At the end of the scheduled training 
period the regiments were not sent over- 
seas as had been planned. Instead, the 
men were sent individually and in small 
groups to the Ordnance school at Aber- 
deen, and to other technical training in- 
stallations, for intensive training in various 
specialties such as small arms, artillery, 
fire control instruments, and tanks. After 
twelve weeks of individual technical train- 
ing, the men were then re-formed into 
units, most of which sailed for North Africa 
early in 1943. 

In recruiting and training three more 
regiments (the 303d, 304th, and 305th) 
different methods were used in order to 
avoid some of the difficulties experienced 
with the first two affiliated regiments. Of- 
ficers were selected and trained in ad- 

vance of the enlisted personnel instead of 
being placed in command of troops before 
they had themselves received any military 
training. Special recruiting teams were or- 
ganized to choose properly qualified men 
for specific assignments. To remove all 
ground for complaint that favoritism en- 
tered into the recruiting process, the offi- 
cers selected to command the units did not 
participate in the recruitment of enlisted 
personnel. As a rule, the enlisted men 
were given ratings somewhat lower than 
their qualifications warranted, to allow 
room for promotion later on. 

When the resources of the NADA were 
eventually exhausted, several business 
concerns volunteered to recruit additional 
personnel for Ordnance affiliated units. 
Among these were the International Har- 
vester Company, American Roadbuilders 
Association, John Deere Company, Asso- 
ciated Equipment Distributors, J. I. Case 
Company, and the Allis-Chalmers Com- 
pany. By 15 December 1942, when re- 
cruiting for affiliated units was discon- 
tinued because of the executive order ban- 
ning further voluntary enlistments, a total 
of approximately 1,100 officers and 30,000 
enlisted men had been provided for 5 base 
regiments, 10 separate battalions, and 109 
separate companies. 7 " Ordnance units 
were thereafter organized and trained at 
regularly established Unit Training Cen- 

76 "I regret to advise you," General Campbell 
wrote, "that unquestionably some mistakes have been 
made by the Ordnance in raising these units; the 
camp was not ready for occupation and training facil- 
ities could not be procured as fast as the men were 
raised. Camp Sutton is a new tent camp. . . ." Ltr, 
CofOrd to Sen D. Worth Clark, 11 Jul 42. OO 
320.2/2129, DRB AGO. 

77 Memo, Gen Hatcher for Gen James Kirk, 22 Sep 
42, sub: Training of Ordnance Base Regiments, OO 
322.1/414, DRB AGO. 

7K For a complete list of all Ordnance affiliated 
units, see jVADA Bulletin, Feb 43, p. 24. 



Unit Training 1942-45 

During the first six months of 1942, the 
Ordnance Department's responsibility for 
training— aside from the affiliated units — 
was not clearly fixed. In addition to the 
uncertainty as to whether the Ground 
Forces or the Service Forces should train 
service-type units, there were also in early 
1942 frequent revisions of the War De- 
partment troop basis. Ordnance officers 
responsible for training units were handi- 
capped in making definite plans because 
they did not know precisely how many 
units they would be called upon to train 
during the months ahead. They estimated 
that a total UTC capacity of from 20,000 
to 25,000 would probably be required be- 
fore the end of the year, but in the spring 
of 1942 the small UTC at Raritan was the 
only existing Ordnance facility for con- 
ducting unit training, and it was on a 
stand-by basis. An immediate search was 
therefore made for suitable sites at which 
to establish several new and larger 
UTC 's. 79 

The first site to be approved was Camp 
Perry, adjacent to Erie Proving Ground 
in northern Ohio. It had a capacity of 
4,500 trainees and was converted into an 
Ordnance UTC on 18 May 1942 to train 
units for service with the Army Ground 
Forces. The second new UTC was estab- 
lished at the Mississippi Ordnance Plant, 
near the town of Flora, Mississippi. This 
large bag-loading plant was nearing com- 
pletion in the summer of 1942 under su- 
pervision of the Industrial Service, but was 
not at that time essential to the ammuni- 
tion production needs of the Department. 
The Military Training Division therefore 
arranged in August to convert the plant 
into a unit training center with a capacity 
of 7,000. In late October a 3,000-man 

UTC was established at the Red River 
Ordnance Depot, and when the Ordnance 
Training Center at Santa Anita was 
opened in November, most of its capacity 
was devoted to the training of units. 80 In 
addition to these regularly established 
training centers, Ordnance depots such as 
Augusta; Mt. Rainier; Fort Crook; Nanse- 
mond at Portsmouth, Virginia; Seneca at 
Romulus, New York; Letterkenny at 
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; and Nor- 
moyle were used for on-the-job continua- 
tion training. 

Before the responsibility for motor trans- 
port vehicles was transferred from The 
Quartermaster General to the Chief of 
Ordnance in August 1942, the training of 
Quartermaster units for automotive main- 
tenance had been conducted at various 
AGF installations such as Camp Butner, 
Camp Sutton, and Pine Camp. Ordnance 
training officers took immediate steps in 
September to centralize control of the 
training of automotive units by establish- 
ing three automotive UTC's. The first, and 
largest, of these centers was opened in 
October 1942 at the Pomona Ordnance 
Depot, with a capacity of 3,000. In mid- 
February 1 943 two more were established, 
one at Holabird Ordnance Depot (capac- 
ity 800) and the other at Atlanta Ordnance 
Depot (capacity 1,800). 81 With eight cen- 
ters in operation by February 1943, the 
combined capacity of all Ordnance UTC's 
rose to more than 24,000. This program of 

7!l Interv with Col Wagner. Jan 50. 

80 The OTC at Santa Anita was established on the 
race track, which had been closed because of the war- 
time ban on horse racing. It filled the need for an 
Ordnance training center on the west coast and spe- 
cialized during 1943 in the training of men before 
their assignment to units. Hist of OTC, Camp Santa 
Anita, OHF. 

S1 Ltr. TAG to major commands, 5 Feb 43, sub: 
Establishment of Ord UTC's, AG 353 (2-3-43), DRB 



expansion placed Ordnance far in the lead 
among the technical services in establishing 
unit training centers. 82 

All of the Ordnance UTC's established 
in 1942 encountered difficulties during the 
early months of their operation because of 
the limited facilities and lack of experi- 
enced personnel. Basic military training 
was hampered by the lack of rifle ranges, 
gas chambers, bivouac areas, visual aids 
such as films and charts, and areas for 
demonstrating hasty field fortifications, 
tank obstacles, and field sanitation. 83 Tech- 
nical training of maintenance companies 
was handicapped by the lack of shop 
equipment, sample items of Ordnance 
materiel, charts, and manuals. Because of 
the need for speed in activating and train- 
ing new units, none of the UTC's was fully 
equipped or manned when it received its 
first units for training, and, what was even 
worse, many units were ordered to over- 
seas duty by higher headquarters before 
they had completed the prescribed thir- 
teen weeks of training. At Camp Perry, for 
example, of twenty units shipped out dur- 
ing 1942, only three had completed the 
scheduled thirteen weeks of training. Nine 
of the units had only seven weeks of train- 
ing, and others had less than seven weeks. S4 
All of these were units that the Ordnance 
Department was training for the Army 
Ground Forces, and they were moved at 
the request of AGF with full knowledge 
that their training was incomplete. 85 

This divided control over the training of 
Ordnance units was the source of a great 
deal of dissatisfaction during 1942. In 
October, for example, when the Under 
Secretary of War wrote to General Camp- 
bell that he was concerned over the effi- 
ciency of Ordnance units in the field, the 
Chief of Ordnance replied that he was 
"fully cognizant of the lack of trained per- 

sonnel in Ordnance field units. " s,; General 
Campbell went on to state that he did not 
concur in the existing War Department 
policy of training Ordnance units of the 
Army Ground Forces. This policy placed 
primary responsibility for the activation 
and training of such units with the AGF 
rather than with Ordnance. "All Ord- 
nance units," General Campbell wrote, 
"should be activated at least three months 
prior to the activation of the combat units 
they are to serve. Until released for assign- 
ment to combat units, the training of all 
Ordnance units should be under the com- 
plete control of the Chief of Ordnance." 
He followed up these recommendations 
three weeks later with a memorandum for 
General Somervell requesting that respon- 
sibility for the initial three months of train- 
ing of all Ordnance units be vested in the 
Chief of Ordnance, that no Ordnance units 
be released from Ordnance control until 
the three-month training period was com- 
pleted, and that the necessary UTC capac- 
ity and equipment be made available to 
the Chief of Ordnance. 

This request was not favorably consid- 
ered, but during 1943 the ASF Training 

K - See chart of UTC strength in Progress of Ord- 
nance Program, 30 Jan 43, p. 25, OHF. In June 1943, 
4,000 men completed training at Ordnance UTC's. 

s ' For a typical example, see report by the com- 
manding officer of Red River Ordnance Depot 
quoted in Red River UTC Hist, II. 4, OHF. 

81 Ltr, GG 5th SC to CG SOS, 8 Feb 43, sub; Rec- 
ommendations Concerning Ordnance UTC, Camp 
Perry, OO 354.1/70, DRB AGO. 

RS 2d Ind, CofOrd, 19 Feb 43, to ltr cited n. 84, OO 
354.1/70 DRB AGO. "Army Ground Forces were 
completely familiar with the situation," the Chief of 
Ordnance reported, "and still were desirous of mov- 
ing these companies from Camp Perry." 

° B (1) Memo, USW for CofOrd, 2 Oct 42, OO 
322.1/552. (2) Memo, CofOrd for USW, 2 Oct 42, 
USW Misc. and Subject files — Ordnance. (3) Ltr, 
CofOrd to CG SOS, 28 Oct 42, sub: Activation of 
Ordnance Field Units, OO 322.1/552. AH in DRB 



Division took several important steps to 
strengthen the unit training programs of 
all the technical services. Requirements 
were prescribed in greater detail, inspec- 
tions were more rigid and more frequent, 
and at the end of the summer the time 
allotted for unit training was lengthened 
from thirteen to seventeen weeks. 87 In June 
all UTC's were required to give military 
training continued emphasis during the 
technical training phase, to provide more 
thorough training in first aid, chain of 
command, and use of weapons for anti- 
aircraft defense. As reports came in from 
overseas stressing the importance of night 
operations, the UTC's were directed to 
give more attention to instructing units to 
carry out all their operations under black- 
out conditions. In August ASF headquar- 
ters established minimum requirements for 
the training of all nonmedical ASF units 
and directed that no unit be reported as 
ready to perform its mission until the 
minimum requirements had been met.* 8 

The quality of Ordnance unit training 
steadily improved during 1943 and 1944 
as rifle ranges, obstacle courses, infiltration 
courses, and other facilities for training 
were constructed at the training centers, 
and as equipment for shop and field main- 
tenance work became more plentiful. 89 
Progress was most clearly reflected in the 
reports of The Inspector General on Ord- 
nance units before their movement over- 
seas. During 1944, fifty-four Ordnance 
units were inspected and only two were 
found to be below the minimum standard. 
No other technical service with a compar- 
able number of units inspected had such a 
high rate of acceptance. 90 

After V-E Day there was a brief period 
of intense activity in the redeployment 
training of units. In accordance with War 
Department policy, entire units were trans- 

ferred from the European theatre to train- 
ing centers in the United States where they 
were given special training before moving 
on to the Pacific. Every effort was made at 
the Ordnance training centers — chiefly at 
Aberdeen, Red River, and Atlanta — to 
adjust the training to the needs of rede- 
ployed units, to avoid unnecessary repeti- 
tion of earlier instructions, and to direct 
the whole program toward the conditions 
likely to be encountered in the Pacific area. 
Most of the technical training consisted of 
practical on-the-job instruction to bring 
the men up to date on new procedures. 
Military training focused special attention 
on Japanese tactics, identification of Jap- 
anese uniforms and weapons, throwing live 
hand grenades, bayonet practice, camou- 
flage, and malaria control measures. 

Because of the nature of unit training it 
is impossible to compile an accurate and 
meaningful statistical summary of units 
trained during World War II. Units varied 
in size from the bomb disposal squad to 
the base regiment, and the length of their 
training period varied from one to six 
months. Many units were ordered to active 
field duty before they completed more 
than half the scheduled program, while 
others engaged in advanced training for 
several weeks after completing the basic 
training requirements. The affiliated units, 
composed of skilled mechanics, needed 

87 MTP 21-2. 1 Aug 43. This training program 
applied to RTC's as well as to the UTC's. 

" ASF Memo S 350-43-43, 28 Aug 43, OO 
353/401 1/2, DRB AGO. 

89 Memo. Maj L. W. Reeves for Dir of Mil Tng 
ASF, 13 Aug 43, sub: Inspection of the OUTC, Tex- 
arkana . . . . OO 353/4081, DRB AGO. "The Ord- 
nance Unit Training Center at Texarkana is con- 
sidered superior in the conduct of basic field train- 
ing," the memo stated. "This training is character- 
ized by thoroughness and reality." 

»" ASF Monthly- Progress Rpt. 3 1 Jul 45, Sec. 9. 
Military Training, 'p. 11, DRB AGO. 



only basic military training and familiari- 
zation with Ordnance materiel. Most 
other Ordnance units were made up of 
selectees assigned to Ordnance by recep- 
tion centers, and required the full cycle of 
basic military, technical, and unit training. 
But, without taking into consideration all 
of these variations in the length and scope 
of the training programs, estimates show 
that approximately 90,000 men received 
some degree of training at Ordnance 
UTC's during the 1941-45 period. 5 ' 1 

Bomb Disposal Training 

Training personnel to dispose of unex- 
ploded bombs (UXB's) — whether of the 
defective-fuze or delayed-action variety — 
was one of the many new problems the 
Ordnance Department was called upon to 
face during World War II. During earlier 
wars, unexploded bombs or shells had 
usually been disposed of simply by blowing 
them up wherever they were found. Dur- 
ing World War II, when large-scale bomb- 
ing raids were launched against centers of 
population and industry as well as against 
military installations, use of the crude 
demolition methods of the past was no 
longer feasible. A large high-explosive 
bomb dropped in the middle of an urban 
business district and buried several feet 
under the pavement among vital water, 
gas, and electric lines could not be blown 
up without incurring tremendous property 
damage, nor could it be left for hours — or 
even for days or weeks — to explode at its 
own appointed time. Means had to be 
devised for gaining access to the bomb, 
removing the fuze, stopping the time mech- 
anism, or otherwise rendering the bomb 
harmless and then digging it out and haul- 
ing it away for destruction or salvage. 
After the destructive bombing raids 

launched by the Germans in 1940, the 
need for trained bomb disposal squads 
became apparent to authorities planning 
the defense of the United States. No large- 
scale attacks on American cities were ex- 
pected, but it was felt that preparations 
should be made to minimize the destruc- 
tiveness of any attacks that might occur." 2 

Progress in getting the bomb disposal 
training program under way during 1941 
was hindered by delay on the part of 
higher authority in deciding who should 
be responsible for such training. The earli- 
est plans had envisaged an Office of Civil- 
ian Defense that would organize and direct 
civilians in every community to carry out 
fire-fighting and bomb-disposal operations 
during bombing raids. But it was not until 
five days after the attack on Pearl Harbor 
that the War Department specifically- 
assigned to the Office of Civilian Defense 
(OCD) the task of disposing of UXB's in 
the zone of interior, and to the Ordnance 
Department the same responsibility within 
all military reservations, overseas depart- 
ments, and theatres of operations. flS The 
Ordnance Department was also assigned 
responsibility for training bomb disposal 
personnel, both military and civilian, and 
was authorized to send an instructor cadre 
to the bomb disposal school in England to 
study British methods. 

In early December the Chief of Ord- 
nance concurred in this decision to divide 
responsibility for bomb disposal between 
the OCD and the Ordnance Department, 
but further study of the matter convinced 

■"■ Table, prepared by MPTS, in PSP 60, Ordnance 
Military Training, 1939 44, p. 160, OHF. 

; '- For a general view of the bomb disposal prob- 
lem, see Lt. Col. Thomas J. Kane. "Unexploded 
Bombs," Army Ordnance, XXIII, 134 (1942), 277-82. 

a:l Ltr. TAG to CofOrd and others, 12 Dec 41, sub: 
Disposal of Unexploded Bombs, AG 471.6 (9-9-41) 



him that the decision had been unsound. 
"Civilian volunteers cannot be properly 
trained or disciplined for this hazardous 
work," he concluded. "Every detail of 
delayed-action bomb disposal is hazardous 
in the extreme and requires the utmost in 
skill, caution, and discipline. Only profes- 
sionals can develop the skill and experi- 
ence necessary for such work." ; ' 4 Even 
more important in the eyes of the Ord- 
nance experts who had studied the matter 
was the need for the strictest secrecy in 
bomb disposal work so that the enemy 
would not learn when effective measures 
for disarming his bombs had been devel- 
oped. They pointed out that, if the enemy 
learned what methods were used by bomb 
disposal squads, he would immediately 
devise new bombs that would explode 
when these methods were used. This argu- 
ment clinched the matter. The December 
directive was rescinded and the Ordnance 
Department was given sole responsibility 
for disposing of all explosive bombs. The 
OCD was limited to disposing of incendi- 
aries and carrying on "bomb reconnais- 
sance," that is, locating, identifying, and 
reporting bombs. 9 ' 1 

Immediately after issuance of the De- 
cember directive, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment formed a tentative bomb disposal 
organization at Aberdeen Proving Ground 
to prepare for the opening of the Bomb 
Disposal School. Maj. Thomas J. Kane 
was chosen as commandant of the school 
and in January 1942 was sent to England, 
accompanied by eight officers and enlisted 
men, for instruction in bomb disposal 
methods. At the same time a small group 
of British bomb disposal experts — all sea- 
soned veterans of the Battle of Britain — 
came to the United States with a complete 
set of British bomb disposal equipment/' 6 

The most urgent problem facing the 

Bomb Disposal School during the spring 
of 1942 was the need for effective instruc- 
tional materials. As the school was adja- 
cent to the Proving Ground, it was 
possible to obtain samples of American 
fuzes, bombs, and other materiel for study 
and demonstration, and a bomb disposal 
museum was started. A large area was set 
aside as a bomb disposal range where the 
students could work on actual bombs 
dropped from airplanes, but there were no 
films, film strips, charts, and manuals. To 
meet this need, the official British training 
film "UXB" was duplicated by the Signal 
Corps during March, and several film 
strips, charts, and pamphlets on bomb 
reconnaissance were prepared by the 
school staff. By December 1942, well sup- 
plied with training aids and qualified 
instructors, the school was offering eight 
courses. Three of these were very brief ori- 
entation courses including only eight or 
ten hours of instruction, and one was a cor- 
respondence course. The other four, rang- 
ing from 45 hours to 180 hours of instruc- 
tion, formed the backbone of the school 
curriculum. In addition, instructors from 
the school gave a sixteen-hour bomb recon- 
naissance course to top OCD personnel in 
all states east of the Mississippi and in the 
states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico and 
the Pacific Ocean. 97 

The value of this training was twofold. 

!w Disposal of Unexploded and Delayed Action 
Bombs, inr.l to ltr, CofOrd to TAG, 7 Jan 41, same 
sub, AG 471.6 (1-7-42) MSG, DRB AGO. 

93 Ltr, TAG to CofOrd and others, 5 Feb 42, sub: 
Disposal of . . . Bombs, AG 471.6 (1-7-42) MSC- 

ae Hist of Bomb Disposal School, p. 3, OHF. The 
American mission included Col. Kane, Maj. H. M. 
Walker, 1st Lt. F. A. Parsons, 1st Lt. W. W. Prichard, 
2d Lt. W. R. Nass, M/Sgt. A. E. Keller, T/Sgt. R. E. 
Metress, T/Sgt. J. E. Pilcher, and S/Sgt. R. S. Fel- 
ton. The British group was headed by Col. Geoffrey 
Yates of the Royal Engineers. 

'•" (1) The Courses of Instruction Composed by the 



On the domestic side, the Bomb Disposal 
School provided a nucleus of trained per- 
sonnel for all the Service Commands and 
civilian defense regions and thus strength- 
ened the nation's civilian defense organi- 
zation. The significance of this contribu- 
tion is sometimes overlooked because no 
enemy bomber formations appeared over 
American cities during the war to bring 
the bomb disposal forces into action. In 
overseas theatres the value of bomb dis- 
posal training was clearly demonstrated. 
In those areas, Ordnance-trained bomb 
disposal units found plenty of work to do, 
often working around-the-clock for days 
at a time. They performed heroic service in 
neutralizing and removing UXB's, artil- 
lery shells, and other explosives from terri- 
tory occupied by Allied troops. Although 
their training had not covered all types of 
explosive items, bomb disposal personnel 
overseas found that the red bomb on their 
sleeves made them the target for questions 
on all kinds of objects suspected of being 
explosive. The disposal of explosive bombs 
and shells was not glamorous work, and 
was not rewarded with additional com- 
pensation for all its hazardous nature, but 
it proved immensely valuable to the fight- 
ing troops. 

The accomplishment of the Ordnance 
Department in training more than 300,000 
officers and enlisted men during World 
War II can be seen in proper perspective 
only when viewed against the background 
of the prewar years. Before 1940 training 
was not an important phase of Ordnance 
operations and accounted for only a small 

Ordnance Department for the Training of Military 
and Civilian Personnel on Matters Pertaining to 
Bomb Disposal, Exhibit 1, Hist of Bomb Disposal 
School, OHF. (2) Ltr. Maj A. E. Keller, Chief of 
Bomb Disposal Div. OD Bd, to author, 25 Nov 49, 

fraction of the annual Ordnance budget. 
All efforts during the 1930's to prepare for 
the future were hindered by lack of funds, 
lack of interest in training activities, and 
uncertainty as to Congressional action in 
authorizing a larger Army. 

The Selective Service Act of 1940 and 
the assignment to Ordnance of large num- 
bers of selectees early in 1941 gave the 
Department an opportunity to strengthen 
its training organization and try out its 
plans. Much was accomplished during the 
year, but Ordnance officers felt that much 
more could have been accomplished if the 
War Department had approved their plans 
for expansion. Because of the uncertainty 
as to the continuance of selective service 
beyond one year, no full-scale expansion 
of permanent Army training facilities was 
authorized. As a result, the Ordnance 
Department, along with all other branches 
of the Army, was forced to train the re- 
cruits it received during 1941 under con- 
ditions far from ideal. 

The effect of this failure to expand train- 
ing facilities more rapidly during 1940 and 
1941 carried over into the first year of the 
war. The attack on Pearl Harbor injected 
a new spirit of realism into all Army train- 
ing, but buildings, equipment, and instruc- 
tors could not be provided overnight. 
Moreover, the increased need to train men 
quickly and in large numbers made it 
impossible to train them thoroughly. 
Throughout 1942, Ordnance basic mili- 
tary training was too brief to be very effec- 
tive and continued to place too much 
emphasis on traditional garrison subjects 
such as close-order drill and formal inspec- 
tions, neglecting rifle marksmanship, field 
exercises, map reading, and night opera- 
tions. Lack of essential equipment and 
facilities such as rifles, ammunition, rifle 
ranges, and bivouac areas hindered the 



basic training program all during 1941 
and 1942. Technical training, although 
superior to military training, was also 
greatly handicapped during the 1941-42 
period, and to a lesser extent during the 
latter half of the war, by the lack of shop 
buildings and equipment. 

No review of Ordnance training during 
World War II would be complete without 
reference to its almost infinite variety. The 
Ordnance School trained enlisted techni- 
cians in scores of specialized fields, ranging 
from cooking and baking to the major 
overhaul of tanks and heavy guns. It also 
trained thousands of officer specialists and 
graduated more than 13,000 officer candi- 
dates. Instruction at the Aberdeen Re- 
placement Training Center and the various 
UTC's covered a wide range of subjects, 
from elementary military courtesy and 
close-order drill to the recovery and repair 
of heavy field equipment at night under 
simulated combat conditions. The Bomb 
Disposal School at Aberdeen provided 
both individual and unit training in the 
identification and disposal of unexploded 
bombs. Never before in its history had the 
Ordnance Department been called upon to 
train such large numbers of men in so 
many different specialized fields. 

Perhaps the most noteworthy develop- 
ment in Ordnance training during World 
War II was the streamlining of all school 
courses and training programs. The broad, 
general training of the prewar years was 
discarded in favor of highly specialized 
and intensive courses of instruction. In all 
branches of technical instruction, courses 
were stripped of nonessentials and only the 
"must-know" information was taught. At 
the same time, more effective teaching 
methods were adopted, and great ingenu- 
ity was displayed in developing a wide 
variety of training aids. The success with 
which this streamlining process was ap- 
plied to Ordnance training was attested to 
by a well-known educator, Dr. Robert E. 
Doherty, president of the Carnegie Insti- 
tute of Technology, w T hen he said: "The 
characteristic which distinguishes Ord- 
nance training from all other training with 
which I am familiar is its intensive nature 
.... In this program I think General 
Kutz and his associates not only have done 
a magnificent job for the Army but also 
have made a significant contribution to 
education in general." 98 

Dr. Robert E. Doherty, "Combat Knowledge," 
Army Ordnance, XXVI, 144'(1944), 538. 


Civilian Personnel and Training 

The Ordnance Department during 
World War II was one of the country's 
largest employers of civilian workers. No 
other Army technical service had so large 
a work force, and the payrolls of few pri- 
vate industries approached in size that of 
Ordnance. The overseas operations of the 
Department were carried on by military 
personnel, but practically all Ordnance 
installations in the United States — the ar- 
senals, depots, proving grounds, and dis- 
trict offices — were manned bv civilians, 
with only a few officers and enlisted men 
filling administrative and specialist posi- 
tions. The only important exceptions to 
this rule were the military training centers, 
which were of necessity staffed almost ex- 
clusively by officers and enlisted men. All 
told, the Ordnance Department mobilized 
more than a quarter of a million workers 
during World War II, roughly one fourth 
of all the civilians who worked for the War 
Department. 1 It trained them in hundreds 
of different specialties, assigned them to 
new and unfamiliar tasks, and made 
steady progress toward developing their 
skills and promoting efficient teamwork. 

In so doing. Ordnance was following its 
traditional practice. To a large extent an 
industrial organization, Ordnance had 
from the earliest days of its history leaned 
heavily on skilled civilian workmen to 
staff its manufacturing arsenals and, par- 
ticularly after the first World War. had 
come to depend increasingly on civilian 

employees to operate its storage depots, 
carry on research projects, and fill thou- 
sands of clerical and administrative posi- 
tions in Washington and the field offices. 
Throughout the 1920's and 1930's, in fact, 
civilians on the Ordnance payroll far out- 
numbered officers and enlisted men, their 
number rising from a low point of 4,250 in 
1924 to 27,000 in June 1940, while the 
total military strength of the Department 
remained relatively stable at about 3,000.' 

In addition to bringing a manyfold in- 
crease in the number of Ordnance civilian 
workers, World War II raised new prob- 
lems for the Ordnance personnel division. 3 
Habits of thought acquired during the 
years between the wars when economy 
and careful deliberation were the order of 
the day had to be discarded, and proce- 
dures for hiring, training, transferring, 
and promoting employees had to be 
streamlined. Despite having entered the 

1 This figure includes only men and women em- 
ployed directly by Ordnance; it excludes employees 
of commercial companies that operated government- 
owned, contractor-operated plants. The personnel 
problems encountered at GOCO plants, in so far as 
they had a bearing on Ordnance history, are consid- 
ered in Thomson and Mayo, Procurement and Supply 
of Mun itions, MS. OHF. 

' m lSee Table 3. Ch. Ill (2) Hist of Civ Pers Div 
(hereafter cited as CPD Hist), Vol. I, Ch. A, OHF. 
(3) Monthly Turnover Rpts, 1920-40, Orel Civ Pers 
Div files. 

3 The word "division" is used throughout this chap- 
ter for the sake of convenience, although the civilian 
personnel division became a staff branch in June 1942. 



war without a well-defined personnel 
policy and with only a small staff for ad- 
ministering regulations, Ordnance not 
only developed an effective personnel or- 
ganization but also contributed in large 
measure to the formulation of a sound 
civilian personnel policy for the entire War 

Growth of the Working Force, 1938-45 

The World War II expansion of the 
civilian working force began in the sum- 
mer of 1938. From 12,480 in July 1938, 
the number of Ordnance employees 
mounted to over 21 ,000 in January 1940 — 
an increase of more than 60 percent in 
eighteen months. 1 Virtually all of this in- 
crease was in the field rather than in the 
so-called departmental service in Wash- 
ington, and of all field employees, nearly 
90 percent worked in the manufacturing 
arsenals. Most of the remaining 10 percent 
were employed in the storage depots, in- 
cluding 500 civilian workers in depots in 
Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippines. 

The rise in the number of civilian work- 
ers between 1938 and 1940 was only the 
beginning of the Department's World War 
II expansion. With over three billion dol- 
lars allotted to Ordnance for the fiscal 
year 1941, the number of civilians on the 
payroll jumped from 21,051 in January 
1940 to 96,263 in December 1941, a 357 
percent increase in twenty-four months. 
After Pearl Harbor the expansion pro- 
ceeded at an even faster pace and con- 
tinued throughout 1942. By February 
1943 Ordnance employment had reached 
its World War II peak of 262,772. A single 
arsenal, Frankford, now employed almost 
as many civilians as had the entire Depart- 
ment three years earlier. 5 Furthermore, in 

January 1942 nearly all War Department 
employees were put on a forty-eight hour 
schedule, thus increasing substantially the 
number of man-hours worked each week. 

The civilian work force in February 
1943 was not only larger than before the 
war, its distribution was much different. 
Whereas in January 1940 nine tenths of all 
Ordnance civilians worked in the manu- 
facturing arsenals, these installations in 
February 1943 accounted for only about 
one third of the total work force, or 95,000. 
The district offices, which had employed 
only 239 workers in January 1940, had 
37,500 employees on their rolls. Thus the 
arsenals and district offices together ac- 
counted for roughly half the total civilian 
work force in February 1943. The other 
half worked in the depots and proving 
grounds, and in the motor bases recently 
transferred from the Quartermaster Corps. 

As the nationwide manpower shortage 
reached an acute stage early in 1943, the 
Ordnance Department intensified its man- 
power conservation efforts, and the num- 
ber of civilian employees dropped steadily 
throughout the year. Not all of the reduc- 
tions stemmed from the manpower con- 
servation program; some came from cut- 
backs in certain phases of the production 
schedule and others from increased effi- 
ciency as individual workers gained 
experience on the job. The net result was 
a reduction in the number of Ordnance 
civilian employees from 262,772 in Febru- 
ary 1943 to 176,384 in December 1943, a 
drop of 34 percent in less than a year. 
During the next sixteen months Ordnance 
civilian employment remained relatively 

1 CPD Hist, I, 9. OHF. 

:1 Ibid. Figures for field installations are in Monthly 
Turnover Rpts, 1920-46, Ord Civ Pers Div flies. The 
World War I peak of 88,000 was reached in Novem- 
ber 1918. 



CEREMONIAL DANCE at the dedication of the Indian village, Wingate, New Mexico, 
Ordnance Depot. 

stable at the 176,000 level, except for a 
temporary increase early in 1945. It de- 
clined slowly after V-E Day and then 
dropped sharply upon the surrender of 
Japan in August. By the end of 1945 the 
number of civilians on the Ordnance pay- 
roll was 86,667, roughly the same as in 
November 1941. 

Recruiting Ordnance Workers 

During the early stages of the emer- 
gency, recruitment was carried on pri- 
marily by the Civil Service Commission, 
which was, in theory, prepared to supply 
properly qualified individuals to fill any 
government job under its jurisdiction. But 
as the labor market tightened during 1940 

and 1941, the commission was unable to 
supply the thousands of workers needed 
by war agencies. Greater authority to hire 
new workers was granted to local com- 
manders, and after Pearl Harbor more ag- 
gressive recruiting methods were adopted, 
including newspaper and radio publicity 
and the opening of recruiting offices in 
centers of labor supply. In the Boston 
area, for example, a sound truck toured the 
city during a War Manpower Commission 
recruiting drive, and a recruiting office 
was set up on the Boston Common. Ord- 
nance field installations listed their per- 
sonnel needs with the district offices of the 
U.S. Employment Service, and recruiting 
teams composed of Ordnance and Civil 
Service Commission representatives trav- 
eled from town to town enlisting typists 



and stenographers. In all of their efforts, 
however, Ordnance installations com- 
plained that they were handicapped by 
Civil Service laws and regulations in com- 
peting with private .industry for the serv- 
ices of available workers. Private industry 
could offer inducements such as promises 
of quick promotions and production 
bonuses that could not be matched by any 
government agency." 

For the Ordnance Department, recruit- 
ment was most difficult at isolated ammu- 
nition depots such as Black Hills in South 
Dakota, Navajo in Arizona, and Wingate 
in New Mexico. With no large communi- 
ties nearby, these depots had virtually no 
local labor supplies to draw upon, nor 
existing housing and related accommoda- 
tions for workers brought in from other 
areas. All of these depots drew a large pro- 
portion of their workers from Indian reser- 
vations. Recruiting officers, assisted by 
representatives of the Civil Service Com- 
mission, Indian agents, and tribal chiefs, 
sent trucks to the reservations, gave exam- 
inations on the spot, and immediately 
transported the recruits to the depots. In- 
dian villages built at the depots were 
dedicated with appropriate ceremonies; 
weaving racks and looms were provided for 
Indian women; trading posts and schools 
were established; and arrangements were 
made so that the Indians would not have 
to forfeit their land because they could not 
farm it. 7 

Other installations resorted to different 
expedients. At Watervliet Arsenal, for ex- 
ample, groups of so-called commandos 
were formed by local business and profes- 
sional men who volunteered to accept em- 
ployment in the evening or on week ends 
to help ease the labor shortage. Elsewhere, 
high school students and teachers were 
given short-term jobs during the summer 

months. More than 500 natives of Jamaica 
and Barbados were employed at Pica- 
tinny. Several thousand German and 
Italian prisoners of war were employed at 
Ordnance depots and at the Erie Proving 
Ground, but, by the terms of the Geneva 
Convention, they could be used only on 
work not directly connected with the war, 
such as maintaining roads, loading and 
unloading nonmilitary supplies, operating 
heating plants, and making boxes and 
crates. 8 No such restrictions applied to the 
Italian Service Units, which were com- 
posed of volunteers who supported the re- 
constructed Italian Government. These 
units were used on a wide variety of proj- 
jects and proved their worth. 9 

By far the most important departure 
from traditional Ordnance practice was 
the recruiting of large numbers of women 
for work in shops and depots. Even before 
the outbreak of war the proportion of 
women employees in the Ordnance De- 
partment had risen from 1 1.5 percent in 
the summer of 1940 to 17 percent in July 
1941. By the summer of 1942 it had 
jumped to 30 percent. This rapid increase 
took place before the manpower shortage 
reached serious proportions and was 
accomplished without much formal direc- 
tion from the Office, Chief of Ordnance. 
Late in the summer of 1942 the Ordnance 
civilian personnel division launched an 
aggressive campaign to induce field instal- 
lations to employ even more women work- 
ers, and as a result, the proportion of 

" (1) The Story of the Arsenals, p. 97. (2) The Place 
of the Ordnance Laboratories in Government Re- 
search and Development. Both in OHF. 

; Ordnance Administration, Pt. 3, p. 546, MS hist, 

K Ltr, TAG to CG's Service Commands, 14 Aug 43, 
sub: Labor of POW's, AG 383.6 (12-8-43), DRB 

" Ord Admin. Pt. 3, p. 547, OHF. 



WOMEN INSPECTORS working at Picatinny Arsenal. 

women employed rose to a peak of 47.6 
percent by the spring of 1945. 10 

There were, of course, many difficulties 
encountered in recruiting women war 
workers. Most of the women who applied 
for work in Army installations lacked pre- 
vious experience in industrial employment 
and had, therefore, to be given rather ex- 
tensive training before being put to work. 
With some of the more elaborate job 
processes performed by skilled workmen 
at the arsenals, "job dilution" was essen- 
tial before women could be taken on and 
assigned to the simpler steps in the process, 
leaving the more difficult tasks for the 
men. The average woman's lack of phys- 
ical strength barred her from many jobs, 
particularly in warehouses where workers 
were frequently required to lift heavy 
packages. State laws restricting the weight 

women workers could lift also had to be 
considered, as did laws forbidding the em- 
ployment of women on night shifts. But, in 
the opinion of most Ordnance administra- 
tors, these problems were insignificant in 
comparison with the contribution to the 
war production program made by women 
workers. 11 

10 (1) Ord Civ Pers Bull 93, 15 Aug 42, sub: Labor 
Supply. (2) Memo, SVV for CofOrd and others, 14 
Aug 42, quoted in Ord Procurement Instructions 
9,051.1 (3) Ord Civ Pers Bull 115, 9 Oct 42, sub: 
Employment of Women. All in DRB AGO. (4) Tabu- 
lation in PSP 59. taken from monthly reports in 
Progress of Ordnance Program. Graphic Analysis. 
OHF. In Washington and in the district offices, 
women made up as much as 70 percent of the total. 

' ' For an account of the difficulties encountered in 
employing women in the Field Service, see memo, Mr. 
William M. Hines, Sr., for Gen Hatcher, 14 Jul 43, 
sub: Reduction of FS Pers, Exhibit 1 in Hist of FS 
Exec Div, Vol. II. Pi. 2, OHF. 



The Struggle for Delegated Authority 

In administering its civilian personnel 
at the start of the war emergency, the Ord- 
nance Department had to comply with the 
rules and regulations issued by two agen- 
cies — the Civil Service Commission and 
the War Department Civilian Personnel 
Division. With the former, Ordnance had 
little complaint and usually managed to 
adjust promptly the differences of opinion 
that arose. W T ith the latter there was 
mounting friction during 1940 and 1941, 
largely due to the decision of the War De- 
partment division to maintain its tight 
control over personnel activities and not 
to delegate to the Chief of Ordnance the 
discretionary authority he desired. 1 " 

Concentration of authority in the War 
Department division had gradually de- 
veloped during the 1920's and 1930's 
when the number of civilians on the Army 
payroll had been small enough to permit 
close supervision of all hiring and firing by 
a central office in Washington. During the 
fall and winter of 1940 General Wesson 
became convinced that the number of 
civilian employees in the War Department 
was so large that it was administrative 
folly to expect that a single office in Wash- 
ington could, or should, review every per- 
sonnel action taken by each branch. He 
urged the War Department division to 
confine itself to top-level staff planning 
and policy formulation, and to delegate to 
subordinate commands full responsibility 
for putting the plans and policies into 
effect. The director of the division, Mr. A. 
Heath Onthank, did not favor such sweep- 
ing delegation of responsibility. He 
recognized the need for gradually assign- 
ing authority to lower administrative 
levels and eliminating some of the conges- 
tion in Washington, but felt that hasty 

delegation of power to untrained person- 
nel in the technical services would lead to 
endless difficulties. In December 1940, as 
an intermediate step toward decentraliza- 
tion, he established field personnel offices 
in each of the corps areas and authorized 
them to deal directly with local Army in- 
stallations. 13 

In January 1941 General Wesson wrote 
a strongly worded memorandum to the 
Secretary of War requesting that Ord- 
nance be given authority to deal directly 
with the Civil Service Commission and to 
hire and fire civilians without referring 
each case to the War Department for prior 
approval. He charged that the delays and 
difficulties encountered under existing 
procedures had become "a serious imped- 
iment to the prosecution of the National 
Defense Program," and would become 
even more serious in the future as Ord- 
nance operations assumed larger propor- 
tions. 14 The Secretary of War promptly- 
rejected this request on the ground that 
Ordnance had not made use of the War 
Department field offices and had not itself 
fully decentralized personnel functions to 
its own field establishments. 15 In his reply 
to this decision, General Wesson defended 
the Ordnance record on decentralization 
and called attention to the fact that the 
arsenals, plants, and depots had not used 

This section is based in large measure on: (1) 
CPD Hist, Vol. I, Ch. F. and appended documents, 
OHF; (2) intervs, Aug 50. with George W. DeCamp, 
wartime assistant chief of Ord Civ Pcrs Div; and (3) 
intervs, Aug 50, with A. Heath Onthank, Dir WD Civ 
Pers Div. 1938-4-2. 

1:1 (1) Ltr, TAG to Chiefs of Arms and Services 
. ... 10 Dec 40. sub: Functions of Civ Pers Field 
Offices, OSW, AG 230.14 (12-10-40) DRB AGO. 
(2) Interv with A. Heath Onthank, 28 Aug 50. 

IJ Memo. CofOrd for SW, 9 Jan 41, OO 230/929, 
DRB AGO. See also Key Pers Rpl, Col ReifT H. 
Hannum, 6 Sep 45. OHF. 

1S Memo, Admin ASW for CofOrd, 1 1 Jan 41, sub: 
Civ Pers Procedures. OO 230/1050, DRB AGO. 



the War Department field offices because 
they were all exempt from corps area con- 
trol. He bluntly declared that he had no 
intention of granting to these Ordnance 
installations, many of which had been 
established only recently and were 
manned by inexperienced personnel, full 
authority to deal with the War Depart- 
ment field offices, and thus bypass all 
control by the Ordnance office in Wash- 
ington. 1 ' 1 

On the day that he wrote this reply, 
General W r esson presented the Ordnance 
case to the Crowell Committee, which had 
been appointed to study the problem. 17 
He referred to the policy followed during 
World War I of delegating virtually com- 
plete authority in civilian personnel mat- 
ters to the Ordnance Department, and he 
contrasted that policy with the cumber- 
some procedures under which Ordnance 
was still operating in January 1941. But 
when the Crowell Committee made its 
report on 7 February it recommended the 
policy the War Department Civilian Per- 
sonnel Division had urged all along — that 
Ordnance and other War Department 
agencies delegate to field establishments 
full authority to handle personnel trans- 
actions through the civilian personnel field 
offices in the corps areas. 18 

All of the War Department agencies 
concerned concurred in the Crowell Com- 
mittee recommendations except the Ord- 
nance Department. Several conferences 
were held during the following weeks to 
discuss the problem, but little progress was 
made. Ordnance neither delegated au- 
thority to its field establishments, nor used 
the War Department field offices, and the 
War Department personnel division con- 
tinued to hold close control over the ap- 
pointment, classification, and promotion 
of Ordnance civilians. The only definite 

step taken was to assign to Ordnance, as 
the Crowell Committee had recom- 
mended, a "service unit" composed of 
sixteen personnel experts from the W r ar 
Department to expedite approval of de- 
partmental personnel actions. 

On 16 December, less than two weeks 
after Pearl Harbor, General Wesson re- 
peated the request he had made in Janu- 
ary 1941. Before an answer was received, 
War Department Orders "N" came out, 
giving all the technical services authority 
to deal directly with the Civil Service 
Commission on departmental appoint- 
ments and ordering them to delegate to 
their field establishments within six weeks 
authority to utilize the War Department 
civilian personnel field offices. 1B Mr. 
Onthank informed General Wesson that 
these orders constituted an answer to his 
memorandum of 16 December and as- 
sured him that they provided "all neces- 
sary latitude in the procurement and 
management of civilian personnel." Wes- 
son was unable to share Onthank's opti- 
mistic view of the effect of Orders "N." 
Instead, he saw disastrous implications in 
the new directive. It put into effect, he 
wrote, "radical and undesirable changes 
in personnel procedure" that would "in- 
evitably result in confusion and chaos." 
He contended that it withdrew control of 
personnel procedures in the field from the 

1,1 Memo, CofOrd for Admin ASW, 21 Jan 41, sub: 
Civ Pers Procedures, OO 230/1014, DRB AGO. 

17 Memo, CofOrd for USW, attn Committee on 
Civ Pers Procedures, 21 Jan 41, OO 230/991 Misc, 
DRB AGO. The members of the committee were 
General Crowell, consultant to the Secretary of 
War; Arthur S. Flemming of the U.S. Civil Service 
Commission; and A. Heath Onthank, chief of the War 
Department Civilian Personnel Division. 

l!< Rpt. Crowell Committee. 7 Feb 41, OO 
230.2/499 Misc, DRB AGO. 

1! < W r D Orders "N," 23 Dec 41, sub: Emergency 
Procedures re Civ Pers, Exhibit 27 in CPD Hist, Vol. 
I, Ch. F, OHF. 



Chief of Ordnance and placed control in 
the hands of War Department field agen- 
cies staffed by inexperienced personnel 
with little or no knowledge of Ordnance 
Department problems and policies."" 

The argument over the application of 
Orders "N" to Ordnance field personnel 
came to an end early in February 1942 
when the Secretary of War agreed to ex- 
empt the Ordnance Department from the 
order until a classification manual could 
be prepared to guide Ordnance personnel 
officers in the field. The manual did not 
appear until early 1943, and by that time 
Orders "N" had been rescinded. In the 
meantime, the March 1942 reorganization 
of the War Department materially 
changed the personnel picture. All the 
technical and administrative services were 
placed under the jurisdiction of the Army 
Service Forces, which thereafter assumed 
the burden of fighting for delegated au- 

The Influence of ASF Personnel Policies 

The influence of the Army Service 
Forces on Ordnance civilian personnel ac- 
tivities was direct and far reaching. The 
new headquarters not only carried on the 
fight for delegated authority, but also for- 
mulated a broad statement of personnel 
policy to apply throughout the ASF. It 
vigorously pushed wage standardization, 
encouraged the development of improved 
training programs, and exerted pressure 
on all the technical services to employ 
workers more efficiently and reduce the 
number of employees. In so doing the 
ASF, as the employer of more than three 
fourths of all War Department civilian 
workers, to a great extent set the pattern 
of civilian personnel management for the 
Army as a whole. 

The development of the ASF personnel 
program began in April 1942 with the ap- 
pointment of a staff of experts to survey 
the status of personnel management in the 
field installations of the technical services 
and corps areas. 21 As a sample, the group 
selected for study the ASF installations in 
the New York area, including the Ord- 
nance district office, Picatinny Arsenal, 
and offices and depots of other technical 
services. After visiting these establishments 
the investigators reached some rather dis- 
turbing conclusions. They reported that 
the activity carried on under the name of 
"personnel work" at the ASF installations 
was of a routine clerical nature and was 
not regarded as a major management re- 
sponsibility; that recruitment, induction, 
and training of workers did not receive the 
attention they deserved; and that wage ad- 
ministration was not governed by any uni- 
form standard." 2 

When the ASF personnel division 
tackled the problem of remedying these 
deficiencies it found itself blocked at the 
start, as Ordnance had been for the past 
two years, by the concentration of author- 
ity in the War Department Civilian Per- 
sonnel Division. After several months of 
discussion, however, the policy that the 
Ordnance Department had fought for 
since the beginning of the emergency was 
adopted. In August 1942 the Secretary of 
War issued Orders "M" delegating to 
each of the three major commands — Army 

""Memo, CofOrd for USVV, 2 Jan 42, OO 
33 7/1642, DRD AGO. See also 2d Ind, CofOrd, 15 
Jan 42, to memo, Onthank for USW, sub: WD Orders 
"N," 3 Jan 42, OO 230/3585, DRB AGO. 

" New York Field Survey, ASF Control Div Rpt 6, 
May 42, in ASF Control Div files, DRB AGO. 

22 For a detailed description of personnel adminis- 
tration in a district office during the earlv years, see 
Hist of Philadelphia Ord Dist, Vol. I, Pt. 4, Ch. 2, 
OHF. See also Hist of Civ Tng in ASF, Exhibit A, 
The First Six Months, OCMH. 



Air Forces, Army Ground Forces, and 
Army Service Forces — authority to take 
final action on nearly all civilian person- 
nel transactions. ASF immediately passed 
on this authority to Ordnance and the 
other services and directed them, in turn, 
to decentralize personnel operations to 
their field establishments. Since there was 
now no question of Ordnance field instal- 
lations having to deal with War Depart- 
ment field offices, and since most of the 
new depots and plants were now staffed 
with more experienced personnel officers, 
the Ordnance Department promptly com- 
plied with the ASF directive. 211 

In August ASF published an official 
statement of policy emphasizing the need 
for closer attention to such matters as job 
placement, safety, training, and the estab- 
lishment of equitable rates of pay." 1 The 
new Chief of Ordnance, General Camp- 
bell, immediately directed his personnel 
branch to work toward these objectives 
and also persuaded a prominent indus- 
trialist, Mr. Walter C. Pew of the Sun Oil 
Company, to accept a commission as a 
lieutenant colonel and come into the Ord- 
nance Department as head of the civilian 
personnel branch. Mr. Pew accepted the 
post with the understanding that he was 
to work closely with the veteran assistant 
chief of the branch, Maj. George W. De- 
Camp, who had a thorough knowledge of 
government procedures. These two men, 
the one representing private industry and 
the other government service, were se- 
lected by General Campbell to foster in 
the field of personnel administration the 
concept of the "Industry-Ordnance team." 
They served throughout the rest of the 
war as directors of Ordnance civilian per- 
sonnel activity. 

One of the first problems tackled by the 
ASF civilian personnel branch in the sum- 

mer of 1942 was establishment of uniform 
methods of wage administration in the 
supply services and corps areas. For em- 
ployees in the so-called Classification Act 
positions, rates of pay were fixed by law, 
but for many in the ungraded positions, 
such as machinists, munitions handlers, 
and carpenters, there was no uniformity.'' 
No standard wage scale was used through- 
out the Army, and, as a result, wages paid 
at Ordnance installations were sometimes 
out of line with wages paid for similar 
work elsewhere in government and in pri- 
vate industry. In many labor areas the 
Army technical services found themselves 
in competition with each other and with 
the Navy, Air Forces, and private indus- 
try. The situation was obviously one that 
demanded the immediate attention of the 
ASF personnel division, for it was a source 
of endless dissatisfaction among employees 
and contributed to high turnover rates. 26 
For many years the Ordnance Depart- 
ment had determined the wages of its un- 
graded employees by surveying the rates 
of pay for comparable work in local pri- 
vate industries, and had prescribed a set 
of basic principles to be followed by local 
commanding officers in making wage sur- 
veys. 27 In 1941 Ordnance was the only 
technical service using wage surveys to de- 

CPD Hist, I. 100-105, and appended docs, OHF. 
- 4 Principles and Policies of Pcrs Management SOS 
Hq, Aug 42, Exhibit 4 in CPD Hist, Vol. 1, Ch. E, 

-■' These were commonly called "wage board posi- 
tions" because the wages they paid were determined 
by wage board surveys rather than by the Classifica- 
tion Act. 

The situation in the summer of 1942 is briefly 
described in The Development of a Pattern of Civil- 
ian Personnel Management Throughout Army Serv- 
ice Forces, MS, OCMH. 

-' For the origin of this practice see (1) ODO 369, 
24 Jan 22, and (2) Ord Admin, Pt. 3. pp. 603-05, 
both in OHF. 



termine rates of pay. In the spring of 1942 
it went a step further by experimenting at 
two arsenals, Springfield and Picatinny, 
with the method of job evaluation devel- 
oped by the National Metal Trades Asso- 
ciation. 28 Because this method of classify- 
ing jobs according to their level of difficul- 
ty represented the practice of the most 
progressive metal trades industries, its use 
by Ordnance was carefully studied by the 
ASF personnel division during the sum- 
mer of 1942. When the ASF manual on 
wage administration was issued in Octo- 
ber, it embodied the essential principles of 
the wage survey system and labor classifi- 
cation methods used by the Ordnance De- 
partment. The manual was henceforth 
used as a guide for wage administration in 
the ASF, and, further to assure uniformity 
among ASF installations, all wage boards 
were thereafter headed by a service com- 
mand officer and included representatives 
of all the ASF installations in the locality 
under survey. 29 

Another area of personnel management 
that received close attention throughout 
the ASF, particularly during 1943, was 
conservation of manpower. During the 
early phase of the emergency, when pro- 
duction had been the paramount need, 
conservation had been a secondary con- 
sideration. In September 1942, as both 
war production and selective service made 
heavy demands on the nation's manpower 
resources, the Ordnance Department took 
steps to cope with the situation by order- 
ing all its field establishments to reduce 
their staffs. 30 In November it published a 
small pamphlet, generally known as the 
"Blue Book," which outlined a program of 
conservation, and on the first anniversary 
of Pearl Harbor, General Campbell, 
launching a drive to make substantial 
cuts in the Ordnance payroll, issued a 

freeze order to the effect that no vacancies 
were to be filled except with the personal 
approval of the local commanding officer 
or district chief, 31 This drive was com- 
mended by General Somervell who or- 
dered copies of the Blue Book to be sent, 
as a model, to all the other technical 

To conserve manpower, Ordnance 
made organizational studies to improve 
operating efficiency, eliminated all but the 
most essential activities, reduced the num- 
ber of guards, firefighters, and chauffeurs, 
and discharged the least efficient em- 
ployees and chronic absentees. 32 In the 
Ordnance districts the largest reductions 
were made in the ranks of inspectors, 
mainly because of the increased efficiency 
of individual inspectors, improved inspec- 
tion Dy manufacturers, and adoption of 
sampling techniques. The Pittsburgh Ord- 
nance District, for example, dropped 800 
inspectors from its rolls during 1943, and 
the total employment in that district at the 
end of 1943 was 50 percent less than in 
October 1942.-" 

The Field Service was hit hardest by the 
manpower conservation drive in 1943. By 

-* (1) Interv with George DeCamp. Nov 50. (2) 
CPD Hist, Vol. I, App. to Ch. K. OHF. ' 

211 (1) Manual, Wage Administration lor Ungraded 
Civilian Jobs in SOS, 26 Oct 42. (2) SOS Civ Pcrs 
Memo 19, 23 Sep 42. Both in DRB AGO. 

10 Ltr, Coi'Ord to Chief of Pittsburgh Ord Dist, 7 
Oct 42. quoted in Hist of Pittsburgh Ord Dist, I, 348, 

n ODO 3 66, 7 Dec 42, OHF. A copy of the Blue 
Book is in CPD Hist, Vol. 100, Ch. E. Col. Gordon C. 
Band and Col. Charles D. Wiman headed a man- 
power conservation, group in the OCO to direct the 

Ltr. Chief of FS to all FS establishments, 1 2 Jul 
32, sub: Authorized Maximum Civ Pers Strength, in 
Hist of FS Exec Div, Vol. II, OHF. Some of the re- 
duction shown in the reports stemmed from book- 
keeping changes, such as the. removal from the per- 
sonnel count of .persons on extended leave. 

" Hist of Pittsburgh Ord Dist, II, 39-40, OHF. 

Table 9 — Civilian Accident Frequency Rates at ASF Installations 


Total ASF 






7. 1 



Corps of 



Source: ASF Hq, Statistical Review World War II, App. K, p. 165. 
ber of injuries per million man-hours. 

Data for 1942 are not available. Each figure represents the num- 

the winter of 1942-43 the Industrial Serv- 
ice had passed the peak of its expansion, 
but the Field Service was just then coming 
into its own as the storage and distribu- 
tion agency of the Ordnance Department. 
During 1943 the Field Service depots not 
only had to cope with the rapidly increas- 
ing inflow of supplies of all kinds from war 
production plants but also had to handle 
the steadily mounting outward flow of 
supplies to troop units overseas. The only 
reductions in the Field Service work load 
came in August 1943 when several depots 
were transferred to private companies for 
operation under contract. To hold the line, 
or to reduce its personnel strength, meant 
for the Field Service the most rigid econ- 
omy in the use of manpower, adoption 
of the most efficient operating methods, 
and the use of labor-saving machinery 
wherever possible. 34 

One of the major weaknesses in the 
civilian personnel programs at ASF instal- 
lations revealed by the 1942 New York 
survey was the lack of attention to em- 
ployee safety. Of all the technical services, 
the investigators found that only the Ord- 
nance Department had an organized ac- 
cident prevention program. Largely be- 
cause of the hazardous nature of many 
Ordnance operations, safety programs 
were begun in the arsenals and depots 

many years before the outbreak of World 
War II and were well established by the 
spring of 1942. When scores of new load- 
ing plants and ammunition depots came 
into operation in 1942, safety became such 
an important phase of Ordnance activities 
that an Explosives Safety Branch was or- 
ganized in Chicago under the direction of 
Col. Francis H. Miles, Jr. 35 A statistical 
summary, compiled by ASF headquarters 
at the end of the war, shows what a re- 
markable safety record the Ordnance De- 
partment achieved during World War II. 
(See Table 9.) 

Training Ordnance Workers 

During the twenty years before 1940 
the Ordnance Department had not found 
it necessary to give much attention to 
training civilian employees. Throughout 
those years the Department had experi- 
enced little difficulty in recruiting skilled 
craftsmen and professional workers to fill 
occasional vacancies. Ordnance mobiliza- 
tion planning, however, did not overlook 
the fact that in time of emergency large 

14 For a detailed statement of FS personnel prob- 
lems, see rpt, Hines to Chief of FS, 14 Jul 43, Hist of 
FS Exec Div. Vol. II, Pt. 2, OHF. 

15 (1) ODO 285. 26 Jun 42, OHF. (2) Hist of Safe- 
ty and Security Div. OCO, I, 12-15, OHF, 



numbers of men trained in the production 
and handling of munitions would be 
needed. More than six years before war 
came, Frankford Arsenal revived the four- 
year course for apprentice machinists that 
it had discontinued in 1921, and in 1937 
Rock Island Arsenal enrolled thirty-six 
apprentice machinists. 3 " The other arse- 
nals soon made similar provisions for 
training young men in various Ordnance 
specialties, and by the fall of 1940 — more 
than a year before Pearl Harbor— the 
training activities of the Ordnance De- 
partment had reached such large propor- 
tions that a training unit was created 
within the civilian personnel division. 

In the training of many types of Ord- 
nance specialists there was a fruitful ex- 
change between the Ordnance Depart- 
ment and private industry all during the 
war period. Ordnance employees were 
trained in the maintenance of specialized 
types of equipment at factory schools, and 
employees of industrial firms studied at 
Ordnance installations. As early as the 
summer of 1940, for example, six Ord- 
nance employees were trained at the 
Sperry Gyroscope Company on the main- 
tenance of antiaircraft fire control instru- 
ments. A few months later five inspectors 
and three chemists, who were to be sta- 
tioned at the Radford Ordnance Works 
when it was completed, were in training 
at the Carney's Point plant of the DuPont 
Company. This process was reversed when 
Ordnance undertook to train small num- 
bers of operating personnel of the com- 
panies that were to operate the new muni- 
tions plants under construction in 1940 
and 1941. As reservoirs of production 
know-how, the arsenals and depots trained 
engineers, chemists, and other technicians 
selected by the contractors to operate 
GOCO plants. 37 

One of the most important phases of 
arsenal training began in the summer of 
1940 when courses were instituted for in- 
spectors who were to serve in the districts. 
Each arsenal instructed the trainees as- 
signed to it on those items it normally pro- 
duced. Picatinny, for example, trained 
most of the ammunition inspectors; 
Frankford offered courses on optical in- 
struments, mechanical time fuzes, and 
ammunition; Rock Island gave instruc- 
tion in the inspection of mobile artillery 
carriages, recoil mechanisms, and ma- 
chine guns. Later, as the districts made ar- 
rangements for training their own inspec- 
tors at local trade schools and colleges, the 
arsenal courses were discontinued. 38 

After creation of ASF in March 1942, 
the many-sided Ordnance program of 
civilian training became even more varied 
and elaborate. At Rock Island Arsenal 
courses were added for administrative spe- 
cialists, armament maintenance men, field 
service supervisors, traffic managers, 
welders, storekeepers, checkers, and fore- 
men. 89 At Frankford training was given to 
lens grinders, draftsmen, machine opera- 
tors, engravers, fuze assemblers, and other 
specialists in related fields. New employees 
were trained at many installations to be- 
come machine operators, and after they 
were assigned to production work they 

■"' Lt, Col. L. H. Campbell, Jr., "Training Appren- 
tice Machinists," Army Ordnance, XIX, 114 (1939), 
344-46. See also Brig. Gen. N. F. Ramsey. "Arsenal 
Craftsmen." Army Ordnance, XXI, 129 (1941). 367. 

11 Memo, Lt Col Rciffll. Hannum for CofOrd. 27 
jan 41, sub: Tng Programs. OO 352.11 /303. DRB 
AGO. See also Itr, Col Hannum to Lt Col Frank J. 
McSherry. 18 Nov 40, OO 352.1 1/104, DRB AGO. 

:1S For further details, see Brig. Gen. C. T. Harris, 
"Civilian Ordnance Training," Arm}' Ordnance, XXI, 
126 (1941), 600 602. 

"'Hist of Rock Island Arsenal, Vol. II, Ch. 18, 
OHF. For a brief description of each course, see Hist 
of Tng Program of FS Div. in Hist of FS Kxcc Div, 
Vol. 100, OHF. 



were given additional on-the-job training 
to improve their efficiency. Thousands of 
laborers and munitions handlers were 
trained as explosives operators, and large 
numbers of women were trained for cleri- 
cal work. 

The most important additions to Ord- 
nance training prescribed by ASF during 
1942 and 1943 were the "J" programs, 
originated for use in war plants by the 
Training Within Industry Service of the 
War Manpower Commission. 1U ASF in- 
stallations were directed in August 1942 to 
introduce the Job Instructor Training 
(JIT) course to teach supervisors how to 
give on-the-job instruction to their subor- 
dinates. All supervisors were to be given 
the JIT course before the end of the year 
and then, beginning in January 1943, 
they were to be given the second of the 
War Manpower Commission courses, Job 
Relations Training QRT). JRT dealt with 
such basic elements of personnel manage- 
ment as stimulating job pride, adjusting 
grievances, and maintaining discipline. 
When this program was completed in 
June, the third phase of supervisor train- 
ing, Job Methods Training (JMT) was be- 
gun. JMT was a program of work simpli- 
fication designed to show supervisors how 
to analyze jobs and devise more efficient 
work patterns. 41 

Of all war production plants, Picatinny 
Arsenal took the lead in pioneering the 
JMT course. It conducted the first in- 
plant JMT Institute in the United States, 
in October 1942, and thus became the first 
plant in the country to hold institutes in 
all three "J" courses. During the following 
year Picatinny conducted a greater num- 
ber of ten-hour JMT courses and trained 
a larger number of supervisors than any 
other war plant. "From the standpoint of 
the resulting conservation of manpower, 

materials, and machine capacity," wrote 
the author of the JMT course to Col. Wil- 
liam E. Larned of Picatinny, "your sav- 
ings are far ahead of any other private or 
governmental installation. From every 
angle your program is far and away the 
most outstanding in America." 42 

Much of the training given in late 1943 
and early 1944 was guided by the replace- 
ment schedules drawn up at all Ordnance 
establishments to provide for the orderly 
replacement of men inducted into military 
service. Because the War Department in 
1941 adopted the policy of asking local 
draft boards to grant occupational defer- 
ments to its civilian employees only in the 
most unusual circumstances, Ordnance 
employees were drafted at a rapid rate 
after Pearl Harbor. At Rock Island Arse- 
nal, to take one example, 2,500 employees 
entered military service during 1942 and 
an equal number during 1943. And, in 
terms of production line requirements, 
men were taken into the armed forces in a 
haphazard fashion, the selection depend- 
ing more upon their age, physical qualifi- 
cations, and family status than upon the 
nature of their employment. To remedy 
this situation, Frankford Arsenal early in 
1943 pioneered the replacement schedule 
plan for the War Department and demon- 
strated the practicability of working out 
long in advance a systematic program to 
train draft-exempt replacements for men 
likely to be called for military service. The 
selective service boards were then requested 

4 " SOS Cir 45, 19 Aug 42, sub: Job Instructor Tng 
Program, DRB AGO. 

11 ASF Civ Pers Memo 77, 3 Aug 43. DRB AGO. 
For a detailed description of the course as given in one 
Ordnance district, see Hist of San Francisco Ord Dist, 
Vol. IV, OHF. The entire volume is devoted to JMT. 

Ltr, Clifton Cox, Training Within Industry Re- 
gional Dir. to CO Picatinny Arsenal, 21 Oct 43, in 
Hist of Picatinny Arsenal, Admin Gp, Oct- Dec 43. p. 
61, OHF. 



to grant temporary occupational defer- 
ments, on an individual basis, until re- 
placements for the men could be trained. 
After replacement schedules were pre- 
pared throughout the Department in 
1943, each Ordnance installation could 
plan well in advance for the replacement 
of men to be taken into the armed forces. 43 
By April 1945, when the European 
phase of the war was about to end, nearly 
every activity of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment was covered by a civilian training 
course of some kind. There were 355 dis- 
tinct courses being given to employees, 
most of them of the on-the-job type, and 
nearly 17,500 persons completed a course 
during the month. The course producing 
the most graduates in April 1945 was that 
on general safety procedures; next in order 
came orientation and induction training, 
work simplification, and work measure- 
ment. 44 

Statistics on training are apt to be mis- 
leading because they were usually kept in 
terms of the number of persons who com- 
pleted courses, regardless of the length of 
the courses or the level of their difficulty. 
Ordnance courses ranged in length from 
the ten-hour "J" courses to the four-year 
programs of apprentice training, and 
varied in difficulty from typing and truck 
driving to lens grinding and contract ter- 
mination. The number of course comple- 
tions was surprisingly high because many 
Ordnance employees, probably most of 
them, completed more than one course of 
instruction during the war, and some com- 
pleted a dozen or more. Although Ord- 
nance had only 262,772 employees on its 
payroll at the peak of its strength, it has 
been estimated that Ordnance workers 
chalked up more than 700,000 "comple- 
tions" between August 1942 (when main- 
tenance of statistics on training began) 

and August 1945. 45 Although there was 
occasional criticism during the war that 
training was overemphasized and "over- 
organized," and that it interfered with 
production when workers were taken from 
their jobs to spend hours in a classroom, 
the prevailing opinion was that time spent 
on training was more than reclaimed in in- 
creased production, higher morale, and 
reduced turnover. 4fi 

Employee Relations 

Employee relations were of greater im- 
portance to Ordnance during World War 
II than during the years of peace chiefly 
because wartime conditions of employ- 
ment were far different from those before 
1941. As the war years brought a 
"worker's market" in which jobs were 
plentiful and workers were scarce, the 
threat of dismissal no longer held any ter- 
ror for the average employee. He knew 
that he could find another job in a few 
days, and he also knew that his employer 
was eager to avoid the expense resulting 
from high turnover rates. The problems of 
management were further complicated as 
the war years brought into Ordnance em- 
ployment thousands of men and women 
with little or no previous work experience, 
and with little understanding of the need 
for strict observance of rules and regula- 

When ASF came into the picture in the 
spring of 1942, there was ample evidence 
of the need for improved employee rela- 

4:1 (1) Hist of Frankford Arsenal, IV, 1 1. (2) Hist of 
Rock Island Arsenal, p. 289. Both in OHF. 
" Ord Admin, Pt. 3, pp. 579-80, OHF. 
15 Ibid., p. 569. 

iH ( I ) Intervs with George DeCamp and others in 
Civ Pers Div, 1 950. (2) Ltr, GO Letterkcnny Ord De- 
pot to CofOrd, 30 Mar 44, sub: Evaluation of Tng, 
OO 353/7 109, DRB AGO. 



tions at many Army installations. The 
turnover rate among ASF employees was 
described as being "nothing less than as- 
tronomical. Workers left their jobs whole- 
sale. Out of every 10 people hired, only 
four or even fewer would remain . . . for 
as much as one year." 47 Ordnance was no 
exception to the rule. At Springfield Ar- 
mory, for example, 4,700 persons were 
hired between December 1941 and June 
1942, but 1,600 resigned during the same 
period. At Picatinny and Frankford Arse- 
nals the annual turnover rate during 1942 
approached 50 percent. 18 

A relatively high turnover rate during 
the hectic months following the attack on 
Pearl Harbor was to be expected as 
workers adjusted themselves to new condi- 
tions of employment and shopped around 
in the worker's market, but in the summer 
of 1942 the ASF personnel division de- 
cided that the rate was excessive and that 
the time had come to do something about 
bringing it down to reasonable propor- 
tions. One of the first steps taken in this 
direction was the adoption of a standard 
procedure for handling employee griev- 
ances at all ASF installations. This was 
the same procedure that had been in force 
in Ordnance for many years. It provided 
that an employee, acting by himself or 
through a representative, should normally 
take up his complaint first with his imme- 
diate supervisor, and that all supervisors 
should try to straighten out misunder- 
standings or difficulties presented to 
them. 41 ' 

In dealing with complaints, personnel 
administrators in Ordnance and at ASF 
headquarters recognized that most griev- 
ances were of a minor nature but were, 
like a stone in one's shoe, no less irritating 
for their small size. They recognized, too, 
that the great majority of such grievances 

could be satisfactorily handled at the low- 
est or next-to-lowest level of supervision if 
the supervisors had sufficient training and 
aptitude to do the job. Throughout the 
ASF during 1942 and 1943, therefore, in- 
tensive efforts were made to train super- 
visors, through the "J" programs, to be- 
come more adept in dealing with their 

The need for care and intelligence in in- 
troducing new Ordnance employees to 
their jobs was best illustrated in the em- 
ployment of inexperienced women work- 
ers. Many women who had never before 
done any work outside their own homes 
volunteered for war work and then found 
themselves unceremoniously assigned to 
jobs in huge shops or warehouses before 
they had an opportunity to get their bear- 
ings. The most that was done for them was 
to put in their hands a small pamphlet 
containing the rules and regulations of the 
installation. On far too many occasions 
the women thus hastily put to work found 
the transition from home to factory too 
difficult to make and resigned at the end 
of their first week. The time saved at the 
expense of proper induction and preas- 
signment training was thus lost as the 
whole cycle of recruitment and assign- 
ment had to be repeated with others. 50 

More attention was also given to the 
proper placement of new employees. In the 
early stages of war mobilization, when 
workers were recruited with all possible 

17 ASF Manual M-216, Sec. X. 

4 " ( 1) Hist of Springfield Armory, Vol. II, Book III, 
p. 153. (2) Hist of Frankford Arsenal. Vol. Ill, Exhibit 
M. (3) Hist of Picatinny Arsenal, Admin Gp, Vol. I, 
Pt. 2, pp. 110-11. All in OHF. 

,;i ODO HO-44. 16Jun 44. sub: Employee Griev- 
ance Procedure, OHF. (2) ASF Cir 149, 20 May 44. 
(3) ASFCir 17 1,6 June 44. Last two in DRB AGO. 

r>0 Constance McL. Green, The Role of Women as Pro- 
duction Workers in War Plants in the Connecticut Valley 
(Northampton, 1946), p. 28. 



speed and when thousands of inexperi- 
enced men and women were put on the 
payroll overnight, careful testing and 
placement of each individual had been 
impossible. "The tendency was to take all 
comers," stated the ASF personnel man- 
ual. "The employee was placed on the 
working force in the hope that in one way 
or another he would gravitate toward the 
right job and stay with it." 51 Placement in 
the Ordnance Department was more 
highly developed than it was in other 
branches of the Army because of the tech- 
nical nature of most Ordnance activities, 
but it still left much to be desired in the 
spring of 1942. At Springfield Armory, for 
example, there was no aptitude testing or 
preshop training for men during the 1941- 
42 period/ 1 ' 2 Early in 1943 an Ordnance- 
wide campaign was launched to give more 
consideration to the placement of workers. 
Personnel staffs were directed to draw up 
a job description for every position, keep a 
record of each employee's qualifications, 
and assign each worker to the job for 
which he was best qualified. This cam- 
paign was in line with the provisions of the 
ASF policy statement of August 1942 and 
probably contributed as much toward 
promoting good employee relations and 
reducing turnover as any other single step 
taken by the Ordnance Department dur- 
ing the war. 

Experience soon demonstrated that in 
the work history of the average employee, 
in Ordnance and throughout ASF, two 
days were of crucial importance — his first 
day on the job, and the day he quit work. 
Ordnance personnel administrators con- 
centrated a large share of their efforts on 
those two days. The first day, or more 
often the first week, was devoted to the in- 
duction and training of the new employee 
so that he would get started on the right 

foot. The last day, or the day on which he 
resigned, the employee was called in for 
an "exit interview" that had a dual pur- 
pose: to persuade him not to leave his job, 
and to discover what factors were causing 
him to leave. The employee was encour- 
aged to speak freely and frankly about his 
reasons for leaving. It was sometimes felt 
that he chose to conceal his real reasons 
with a plausible excuse that would fore- 
stall further questioning, but the skillful 
interviewer was often able to discover the 
underlying causes of dissatisfaction. Among 
the reasons most frequently given for leav- 
ing Ordnance employment — excluding 
calls to military service — were acceptance 
of a better job, ill health, and transporta- 
tion difficulties. Many workers took jobs 
elsewhere that offered higher pay, entailed 
less dangerous work, or were more con- 
venient to home. Many Ordnance arsenals, 
depots, and plants were of necessity situ- 
ated at remote points, causing workers to 
make long trips by bus or automobile 
every day. A large number of women 
workers reported that they were quitting 
because of ill health caused by the heavy 
work to which they were not accustomed, 
or because they were needed at home 
to take care of children. When the exit 
interviews revealed that employees were 
resigning because of specific conditions 
within the establishment that could be 
remedied, steps were taken to eliminate 
the conditions. 

Scientists employed at Ordnance labo- 
ratories deserve at least brief mention in 
this section on employee relations, if only 
for the fact that a rather comprehensive 

ASF Pers Officer's Handbook on Employee Rela- 
tions, ASF Manual M-216. Sec. X. See also ASF Ann 
Rpt 1944, p. 312. 

■'- Hist of Springfield Armory, Vol. II, Book 3, pp. 
170-72, OHF. 



survey of their job attitudes was made at 
the end of the war. 53 To some extent, also, 
the attitudes of the laboratory scientists 
were typical of professional workers 
throughout the Ordnance Department. 
When the scientists spoke confidentially, 
and under the cloak of anonymity, they 
were frequently vitriolic in condemning 
certain aspects of their employment. A 
large proportion of them, including more 
than half the small group of Ph.D's, 
planned to leave the Ordnance Depart- 
ment after the war ended. Many of these 
men chose not to remain with Ordnance 
because they felt there was no assurance 
that Congress would support an adequate 
postwar military research program, but all 
were influenced to some extent by the con- 
ditions of employment in Ordnance as 
they had experienced them during the 
war. The complaints most frequently 
voiced were: (1) salaries were too low; (2) 
there was too much red tape, too many 
"channels" causing delay and frustration; 
and (3) professsional men were not treated 
with sufficient dignity and trust. Among 
scientists with high professional ratings, 
one of the grounds for dissatisfaction was 
the Army-wide practice of placing com- 
missioned officers in top positions — and 
then transferring them as soon as they 
became familiar with their jobs. '* Many 
scientists resented having to take orders 
from officers with less experience and less 
professional education than themselves, 
and then being denied personal recogni- 
tion for their own achievements. Com- 
plaints of a related nature stemmed from 
the practice of placing research labora- 
tories at the manufacturing arsenals under 
control of the arsenal commanders. The 
arsenals were naturally production minded 
and did not always evince full sympathy 
for the research problems of the labora- 

tory. As one scientist described the situa- 
tion, "It's like living with your mother-in- 
law. You are welcome, but you're not 
free."' 5 

Many of the complaints made by the 
scientists were of a petty nature, hardly 
worthy of professional men holding respon- 
sible positions. Many of them centered 
around being required to observe routine 
regulations, which the scientists considered 
as properly applicable only to clerical 
workers. Research scientists, for example, 
objected vehemently to punching a time 
clock and being held to a rigid lunch 
schedule. Their complaints suggest that 
some arsenal and laboratory administra- 
tors may have shown poor judgment in not 
allowing more freedom of action to the sci- 
entists, many of whom were eager to work 
overtime on their research projects, and 
that the scientists themselves might have 
shown greater willingness to accept the 
inevitable restrictions imposed by employ- 
ment in a large organization. Whatever 
judgment of the situation may be offered, 
the fact remains that for large numbers of 
scientific workers Ordnance employment 
was not sufficiently attractive to hold them 
after the war. 56 

,:i Where Do We Go from Here: A Survey of Or- 
ganization and Working Conditions at Six Arsenal 
Laboratories, OHF. 

' 4 A Survey o( Ballistic Research Laboratory, p. 1 1, 
OHF. "Military officers with little special knowledge 
of the work are given responsible positions here." it 
was reported. ''They aren't interested in the projects 
because they don't expect to stay long. They are like 
students at school who know they won't have to take 
the exams." 

r " r> Where Do We Go From Here. p. 49, OHF. 

Jli Nearly a hundred complaints, ranging from the 
need for more Coca-Cola machines to lack of oppor- 
tunities for professional advancement, are described 
in A Survey of Ballistic Research Laboratory, OHF. 
See also The Place of the Ordnance Arsenal Labora- 
tories in Government Research and Development. 



At the end of World War II the War 
Department was in a far stronger position, 
as far as civilian personnel management 
was concerned, than it had been when the 
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In few, 
if any, other areas did the Army make 
greater progress during World War II. 
Starting in 1938 and 1939, when it was 
generally considered to have the least pro- 
gressive civilian personnel program in the 
federal government, the War Department 
made steady progress until it eventually 
achieved what one Ordnance official 
labeled "the best personnel program you 
will find anywhere — bar none." And to 
the development of this enlightened per- 
sonnel policy the Ordnance Department 
made a substantial contribution. 

Experience during World War II dem- 
onstrated the need for decentralization of 
War Department personnel administration 
in time of war, and amply justified the 
Ordnance Department's unremitting ef- 
forts to break down the tight centralized 
control maintained until August 1942 by 
the War Department Civilian Personnel 
Division. Concurrently, World War II 
experience demonstrated the need for a 
broad and continuing program to train 
civilian personnel officers for field installa- 
tions. At the end of the war the decentral- 
ization policy was so firmly established, 
and was buttressed by such a large force of 
trained personnel administrators in the 
field, that it was carried over into the post- 
war years as a permanent feature of W r ar 
Department policy. 

The months of August and September 
1942 formed a great divide in the history 
of W r ar Department and Ordnance per- 
sonnel management. These were the 
months during which the newly formed 
ASF began to take positive steps to correct 
the deficiencies in personnel administra- 

tion revealed by the New York field sur- 
vey. In August 1942 War Department 
Orders "M" appeared, delegating to the 
three major commands — ASF, AAF, and 
AGF — most of the authority formerly con- 
centrated in the personnel division of the 
Office of the Secretary of War. Also in 
August came the publication of a civilian 
personnel policy for the entire ASF and 
the launching of an intensive program of 
supervisory training under the "J" pro- 
grams. In September 1942 the Ordnance 
program to conserve manpower was given 
added impetus, and the commanders of all 
field installations were directed to employ 
a larger proportion of women. At the same 
time, plans were made to standardize wage 
administration throughout the ASF along 
the lines dictated by Ordnance experience. 

To measure the progress made in civil- 
ian personnel management in the War 
Department during World War II, one 
need only compare the report of the New 
York field survey of May 1942 with the 
conditions of civilian employment that 
prevailed throughout the Army in the 
spring of 1945. Although the Ordnance 
Department at the beginning of the war 
was more advanced in personnel matters 
than some other branches of the Army, the 
New York survey revealed that many of its 
practices were still in an embryonic state. 
Its training, safety, and wage administra- 
tion programs were well established before 
Pearl Harbor, but the induction and 
placement procedures at many Ordnance 
installations left much to be desired. Stim- 
ulated and encouraged by enlightened 
supervision of the ASF personnel division, 
and given greater freedom of action by the 
decentralization order of August 1942, 
Ordnance made steady progress and by 
1945 had a well-rounded personnel pro- 
gram administered by a well-trained staff. 


Research and Development 


The Westervelt Board Report 

No lesson of World War I was plainer to 
the United States Army than its need of 
modern ordnance. Aviation, signal equip- 
ment, chemical warfare materials, medi- 
cal and engineer supplies must also re- 
ceive study, but the Army's need of more 
effective artillery was the most obvious 
want of all. Accordingly, a month after 
the Armistice General Peyton C. March, 
Chief of Staff, appointed a board of seven 
officers to draw up recommendations for 
field artillery for the U.S. Army of the 
future. Special orders directed the board 
to convene in France at the earliest prac- 
ticable time "to make a study of the arma- 
ment, calibers and types of materiel, kinds 
and proportion of ammunition, and meth- 
ods of transport of the artillery to be as- 
signed to a Field Army." 1 The board was 
to map out a comprehensive development 
program. Headed by Brig. Gen. William 
I. Westervelt from whom it derived its 
name, the board first met at Chaumont, 
France, on 12January 1919. It accumu- 
lated its data over a period of months 
through interviews with French, Italian, 
and British artillery experts, examination 
of both Allied and enemy materiel, inspec- 
tions of plants, and conferences with 
American generals who had commanded 

line troops in the AEF. Returning to Wash- 
ington in April, the "Caliber Board" di- 
gested its findings, consulted with the 
chiefs of Ordnance, Coast Artillery, Field 
Artillery, and Chemical Warfare, and sub- 
mitted its report on 5 May 1919. The re- 
port was approved by the Chief of Staff on 
23 May of that year. 2 

This broad, penetrating survey showed 
that, as General Westervelt expressed it, 
"every item of the hardware of war needed 
improvement" — every type of gun, how- 
itzer, projectile, gun mount, carriage, and 
vehicle that the U.S. Army used. 3 The re- 
port outlined clearly the mission of divi- 
sional, corps, and army artillery, pointed 
out the distinctive problems of each, and 

1 WD SO 289-0, 11 Dec 18. The impetus for the 
study came in part from the Chief of Field Artillery 
who, making suggestions as to the leading problems 
and how to approach them, submitted a list of seven 
qualified officers. (Memo, CofFA for CofS, 5 Dec 18, 
OO 334.3/W, NA.) The seven were Brig. Gen. 
William I. Westervelt, Brig. Gen. Robert E. Callah, 
Brig. Gen. William P. Ennis. Col. James B. Dillard. 
Col. Ralph McT. Pennell, Lt. Col. Webster A. 
Capron, and Lt. Col. Walter P. Boatwright. The per- 
sonnel formed a nice balance betvveen using arms 
and Ordnance. Field Artillery was represented by 
General Ennis and Colonels Pennell and Capron; 
Coast Artillery by General Callan and Colonel Boat- 
wright; and Ordnance by General Westervelt and 
Colonel Dillard. 

2 William I. Westervelt, "A Challenge to American 
Engineers," Army Ordnance, I, 2 (1920), 59-62, 64. 

:i Westervelt, loc. cit., p. 62. 



made definite recommendations. 4 The last 
three sections analyzed the existing inade- 
quacies of American ordnance. The sec- 
tion that dealt with projectiles emphasized 
the need for a great variety of develop- 
ments in fuzes, powders, and shell. The 
board noted: "There are investigations 
under way by the Ordnance Department 
covering this entire subject and the Board 
recommends that these be continued. It is 
to be expected that the subject will require 
extended investigation and is one which 
can only be adequately handled by a con- 
tinuing technical body." 5 

The heart of the report was Section IV, 
"Types of Artillery Recommended: Ideal 
and Practical." For each class of artillery 
the board described the characteristics of 
an "ideal" weapon, and then advised 
what should be used as a "practical" one. 
The "ideal" light field artillery piece was 
of about 3-inch caliber, on carriage, using 
fixed ammunition and smokeless, flashless 
propellant — one charge for 1 1,000 yards, 
a second for 15,000 yards — time fuzes for 
shrapnel, and superquick and selective- 
delay fuzes for shell. It should have maxi- 
mum ballistic efficiency and maximum 
bursting charge, the same ballistics for 
shell and shrapnel and for every type of 
ammunition used, and a maximum rate of 
fire of twenty rounds per minute. While 
work should proceed toward the ideal 
weapon, the board set as a practical meas- 
ure the use of 50 percent 75-mm. guns, 
Model 1916, and 50 percent French 75- 
mm's. The difference between the "ideal" 
and the "practical" typified the distance 
Ordnance designers had to span in nearly 
all Westervelt projects. A partial summary 
of recommendations is given in Table 10. 

For artillery transport, the board advo- 
cated immediate motorization of all weap- 
ons larger than 75-mm. guns and 4-inch 

howitzers. It proposed immediate adop- 
tion of the 5-ton and the 10-ton artillery 
tractors as standard vehicles and the ex- 
clusive use of four-wheeled-drive cargo 
trucks for artillery supply and ammunition 
trains. In addition to recommending 
ample reserves of spare parts and ade- 
quate repair facilities, the board cited 
certain particular needs: supply trucks 
furnished with suitable tool chests and 
cabinets; immediate manufacture of 150 
standard 3-ton, four-wheeled-drive trucks 
to motorize one regiment of 155-mm. how- 
itzers; caterpillar treads of improved de- 
sign and construction; artillery tractors 
with lowered unit ground pressure, im- 
proved grousers, and noiseless engine ex- 
hausts; waterproofing to allow engines to 
run submerged for short periods; and a 
simple form of coupling for towing guns, 
tractors, or trucks in tandem. Although 
American mechanical transport appeared 
to be far ahead of European, the board 
warned against complacency. u Admitting 
the rapidity of American progress since 
1914 when the Ordnance Department be- 
gan practical experiments with the cater- 
pillar for artillery transport, the report 

Mechanical transport is the prime mover 
of the future. ... It is urgent that study 

4 These findings were not approved in entirety by 
Westervelt, Callan, and Boatwright, who submitted 
a minority report. The minority view held that 
organic, army artillery was inadvisable, and that an 
artillery reserve was essential not only lor the army 
but also for the corps and division. Rpt. Bd of Offi- 
cers, 5 May 19. sub: Study of the Armament, Caliber 
and Types of Materiel ... to be Assigned to a Field 
Army (hereafter cited as Caliber Bd Rpt), pp. 61-64, 
OKD 334.3/1.3, Ord Tech Intel files. 

" Caliber Bd Rpt, pp. 21-23, OKD 334.3/1.3, Ord 
Tech Intel files. The Ordnance Committee, set. up in 
July 1919 and working through subcommittees, ful- 
filled the function of the "continuing technical body." 

* Caliber Bd Rpt pp. 88-1 14, OKD 331.3/1.3, Ord 
Tech Intel files. 


Table 10 — Partial Summary of Caliber Board Report 

Claas of Artillery 





Other Characteristics Desired 

Light Field 

3" Gun . 



-5 to +80 


Mechanical transport; 20 rounds per minute. 

105-mm. Howitzer.... 



-5 +65 


Mechanical transport; split-trail carriage. 




-5 +80 


Split-trail carriage; 12,000 lbs. (wheeled), 15,000 
(ca terpil 1 ar) ; 8 miles per hour, 16 rou nds per 

155-mm. Howitzer. 



-5 +65 


Split-trail carriage; 8 miles per hour; 5 rounds per 






Motorized; 6 miles (caterpillar), 12 miles 

8" Howitzer _ . 





Motorized; 4 miles per hour. 

0/ Greater Power 

194-mm. to 8" Gun 



Same carriage as 155-mrn. gun. 

Howitzer - 

Super Guns (seacoast and 
8" or 10" Gun 





Caterpillar; 20 tons; 6 miles per hour. 


tc nrtfi 


Universal barbette mount; railway carriages {far 
all super fturmj^ calibers long j I shot per 

14" Gun 

I, 400 

40, 000 


50 calibers long; firing tinie, 1 honi (prepared posi- 
tion); 8 hours (unprepared). 

12 Howitzer 

1, 046 

1 K, 000 

2U calibers long; 1 hour to occupy field position; 
railway mount. 

+25 +60 


]6" Howitzer 



+25 +65 


25 calibers long; railway mount, 

AA Guns, Light 
3" Gun 




2,600 feet per second initial velocity; caterpillar 
transport; 12 miles per hour. 

4.7" to 5" 




2,600 feet per second iniTial velocity; self- 
propelled caterpillar; maximum weight 10 tons. 

Pack Artillery 

3" Gun 



Use division gnn projectiles; tele&coplc sight. 

Infantry Accompanying Gun 


2, 500 

-6 +50 


2.5 calibers long; maximum weight 300 lbs.; tele- 
Bcopic sight. 

Trench Artillery 

6" Mortar 



+40 +65 

Great simplicity in design. 

In general a smokeless, flashleSS powder was Specified for each weapon. 
Source: Caliber Bd Rpt, pars. 29-76, OK.D 334.3/1.3, Ord Tech Intel files. 



and development be vigorously carried on 
along these lines, as we are on the verge of 
changes fully as radical as the introduction 
of the long recoil field gun carriage, and the 
country first utilizing the new capabilities 
opened up by mechanical traction and the 
caterpillar, will have a great advantage in 
the next war. 7 

These are only the highlights of the re- 
port. The whole was greeted simultane- 
ously with interest, surprise, skepticism, 
and enthusiasm. General Westervelt in 
1920 wrote: "The ideal set by the Board 
is not an easy one to reach, and I fre- 
quently think of the politely amazed look 
upon the faces of many hardened veterans 
in high places to whom the Board first re- 
vealed its dream of complete motoriza- 
tion." 8 Apart from small arms projects, 
most of the developments at which the 
Ordnance Department aimed for the next 
fifteen years were those outlined in the 
Westervelt Board report. The postwar in- 
novation whereby not the Ordnance De- 
partment but the using arms stated their 
needs and specified the military character- 
istics new equipment should have some- 
times delayed initiation of new projects, 
but down into the mid-thirties users and 
Ordnance Department alike were strongly 
influenced by Westervelt Board recom- 
mendations. Indeed in 1939 and 1940 of- 
ficers still cited the board as the incontro- 
vertible authority on armament. 

Developments in Ammunition 

The most complicated task of develop- 
ment confronting the Ordnance Depart- 
ment at the end of World War I lay in the 
field of ammunition. Combat experience 
had shown the inadequacies of much of 
what had been used in 1917-18 — inaccu- 
racies, failures, lack of safety features, and 
a host of needless complexities. But where- 

as Artillery officers could specify rather 
exactly what the requirements of guns and 
vehicles should be, for the development of 
explosives, propellants, projectiles, and 
fuzes their recommendations had to be 
couched in general terms. Here were prob- 
lems of basic research that ammunition ex- 
perts themselves had to define, often seek- 
ing immediately only interim solutions 
and waiting till greater knowledge could 
supply better answers. Hence the ammuni- 
tion designers had free rein within budge- 
tary limits. Over the twenty years of peace 
the Ordnance Department dedicated more 
money to the ammunition program than 
to any other development work. 

Research upon ammunition in the first 
postwar years was inspired not only by the 
Caliber Board but also by the necessity of 
preserving ammunition stored after the 
Armistice. The latter task involved a series 
of experiments with methods of determin- 
ing the stability of smokeless powder, of so 
storing it as to lengthen the duration of 
stability, and of drying it more efficiently 
than by processes formerly used. A good 
deal of valuable information on these sub- 
jects was assembled at Picatinny Arsenal 
before 1926, notably that on feasibility 
of the vapor method of drying, which re- 
duced drying time from months or weeks 
to days. 9 But a more permanent solution 
of some phases of the powder storage prob- 
lem would be to develop new nonhygro- 
scopic powders, which because of their 
chemical composition would not absorb 

"Ibid., p. 31. Ordnance achievements included 
development of efficient 5-lon and 10-ton artillery 
tractors, and heavy mobile repair shops. Ibid., p. 98. 

s Westervelt, loc. at., p. 60. 

" (1) History of Army Ordnance Developmental 
and Experimental Projects for FY 1920-25 Inclusive 
(hereafter cited as ODEP), II, 256-91, 479-94, OHF. 
(2) Interv, 24 Apr 50, with Bruce Anderson, Ammo 
Sec, R&D Serv. 



enough moisture to affect their ballistics 
or chemical stability even when stored in 
a damp atmosphere. If at the same time 
flashless and smokeless qualities could be 
incorporated, the advantages would be 
still greater. The search for flashless non- 
hygroscopic powders, FNH, was accord- 
ingly pushed vigorously. The DuPont 
Company by a special agreement with 
the Ordnance Department followed one 
line of investigation, Picatinny Arsenal 
another, each with considerable success. 
The peacetime development of a complete 
line of single-based and double-based non- 
hygroscopic powders, flashless in many 
weapons, was one of the most useful ac- 
complishments of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment before 1940. 

Meanwhile, other highly important 
studies went forward on fuzes, on bombs 
and artillery projectiles, on high explosives 
and pyrotechnics, on artillery ignition sys- 
tems, and on improved methods of load- 
ing bombs and shells. Special attention 
was directed toward development of 
bombs since the relative ineffectiveness of 
the World War I tear-shaped type and the 
growing role of air warfare made better 
bombs imperative. The results of twenty 
years' work gave the Air Forces of the 
1940's a series of cylindrical bombs of 
greatly increased accuracy and deadliness. 
Still the number of ammunition projects, 
all important and frequently interrelated, 
coupled with the meagreness of funds pre- 
vented rapid progress on any one under- 
taking. 10 In developing artillery ammuni- 
tion, a particular handicap was the small 
number of pilot weapons available to test 
ammunition, for ammunition develop- 
ment could never precede and could only 
partially parallel development of the weap- 
on for which it was intended. Thus, for 
example, the abnormal variations in 

range and velocity that occurred in firing 
in the low zones with the high-explosive 
shell Ml designed for the 105-mm. how- 
itzer were not satisfactorily eliminated 
until rather late in World War II, largely 
because the 105's were not fired frequently 
enough during the peace years to provide 
the data on which to base corrective meas- 
ures. 11 Nevertheless, while no project 
could be labeled completed, the work of 
the ammunition experts between 1919 
and 1940 was extremely useful in defining 
objectives, blocking off blind alleys of re- 
search, and carrying forward a number of 
important investigations. 

Perhaps the single most significant 
achievement was the development of a 
complete system of artillery fuzes inter- 
changeable in practically all artillery pro- 
jectiles. The Caliber Board's recommen- 
dations emphasized the need of bore -safe 
fuzes for high-explosive shells and urged 
reducing the number of types for any par- 
ticular weapon but did not expressly stip- 
ulate combination fuzes or indicate the ex- 
tent to which the same fuze should be 
usable in different calibers. The Ord- 
nance Department's work on these prob- 
lems was along entirely original lines. 
Design of bore-safe fuzes, so constructed as 
to prevent detonation of the main charge 
before the shell had left the gun's muzzle, 
required a radical departure from World 
War I safety features and revision of 
earlier concepts of the quantity of explo- 
sive to be used. It was clear that the best 
way to limit the number of types was to 
develop combination fuzes, such as com- 
bination superquick delayed-action, or 

ODRP, II, passim, OHF. 
" (1) Design, Development, and Procurement of 
Heavy Artillery Ammunition, Nov 44, OHF. (2) 
Interv, 26 Apr 50, with Robert Marshall, Fuze Sec, 
Ind Serv. 



combination time and superquick, in 
which a change in setting would make one 
fuze usable for more than one purpose. 
One major difficulty was finding designs 
that would lend themselves to quantity 
production; during the twenties several 
types functioned satisfactorily when built 
in laboratory or experimental shop but 
proved faulty when produced on a factory 
basis. 12 

By 1932 several new fuzes had been 
standardized, but many gaps in any com- 
plete system remained. Consequently, that 
year the Ordnance Department initiated 
a study of requirements for a series of 
point-detonating fuzes and arrived at the 
conclusion that tactical needs demanded 
four classes of fuzes for high-explosive 
shell or shrapnel fire, at ground and aerial 
targets, at both long and short ranges. The 
study showed the tactical advantages of 
having all fuzes identical in contour and 
weight, and designed with setting lugs and 
threads that would fit all fuze setters 
and permit both interchangeability in all 
point-fuzed projectiles and use with all fire 
control directors and range tables. If time 
fuzes could be used interchangeably as 
detonating fuzes in HE shell and as ignit- 
ing fuzes in shrapnel, and if substantially 
the same mechanism could be used in all 
fuzes employing a superquick element, or 
a delay, powder-train time, mechanical 
time, or detonator safety element, the sim- 
plification for the artilleryman in the field 
and for the producer alike would be enor- 
mous. 13 Upon this difficult task effort was 
bent from 1934 on. The first satisfactory 
member of the new "family" of inter- 
changeable artillery fuzes to be completed 
was a mechanical time fuze (30 seconds), 
the M43. The second was a combination 
superquick delayed-action fuze originally 
issued for use with the 75-mm. pack how- 

itzer, later used with larger calibers. This 
point-detonating fuze, the M48, adopted 
in June 1938, was an achievement; unlike 
the earlier designs of a dual-purpose fuze, 
it was safe, reliable, easily set, acceptably 
accurate. In the course of the next two 
years another superquick delay and a time 
superquick fuze were adopted as well as a 
75-second mechanical time fuze. These 
five, mechanically and ballistically inter- 
changeable, constituted the series most ex- 
tensively used during World War II. 14 

Closely allied with fuze development 
was the redesign of shells. During World 
War I the U.S. Army had largely de- 
pended upon the French for its shells; the 
only American-designed type was the 3- 
inch, the shortcomings of which had 
been apparent. The increased range, 
greater accuracy, and higher lethality de- 
sired in artillery ammunition were to be 
obtained only by the development of a 
complete series of shells in which contour, 
form, and location of the rotating bands, 
composition of steels calculated to produce 
the most effective fragmentation, powder 
charges, and a number of other design 
features all had to be considered. One 
early discovery was that elongating and 
streamlining the shape of the projectile 
increased the range of a gun without any 
modification whatsoever in the weapon it- 
self. Yet every change tended to start a 
chain of new problems. For example, to 
give projectiles for heavy, mobile artillery 
the best ballistic shape and maintain sta- 
bility in flight, designers at first resorted to 

'- ODEP, II, 42-75, OHF. 

'■ ! [1) Ordnance Committee Minutes (OCM) 6808, 
18 Feb 28; 90927, 30 Jul 31; 10597, 6 Apr 33. All 
OCM's are in Ordnance Technical Committee Secre- 
tariat files. (2) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1934, par. 28. 

14 (1) OCM 11364, 29 Mar 34; 11812, 6 Dec 34; 
14554, 30 Jun 3H; 15133, 29 Jun 39. (2) Interv, 9 
May 50, with Robert Cuthill, Ammo Br, Ind Serv. 



use of so-called false ogives, that is, light 
hollow tips. Not only did these thin steel 
ogives prove hard to manufacture and dif- 
ficult to secure to the projectile, they also 
were likely to be dented or injured in ship- 
ping. Improved shipping containers met 
the latter difficulty but the false ogive was 
nevertheless abandoned for all shells save 
the 8-inch gun as soon as alternate design 
progressed further. New testing devices, 
especially wind tunnels in which the air 
resistance of variously shaped projectiles 
could be measured accurately, facilitated 
all work on shell design. By 1940 standard 
HE shell had been developed for all weap- 
ons from 75-mm. through 240-mm. in a 
series of projectiles that had the range, ac- 
curacy, and killing power sought by the 
Caliber Board in 1919. Furthermore, 
small arms ammunition, mortar shells, 
projectiles for small caliber cannon, and 
packing of all types had similarly been ex- 
tensively improved. 15 

Small Arms Projects 

Notwithstanding the Ordnance De- 
partment's concern to improve artillery 
and to achieve Westervelt's "complete 
motorization," development of small arms 
also absorbed considerable time and 
money. Perhaps, indeed, before 1936 de- 
sign of a semiautomatic rifle netted more 
attention than larger weapons. This con- 
centration of effort upon a small arms 
project is probably partly attributable to 
its long prewar history. As early as 1900 
the Chief of Ordnance had proposed de- 
sign of a semiautomatic rifle, and from 
1901 to 1916 a great deal of work had 
been expended on various experimental 
models, both foreign and American. It was 
only logical to resume this work which, 
though interrupted by the war, appeared 

to be well along in 1 9 1 9. 16 Doubtless at 
that time no small arms expert would have 
believed that acceptance of a suitable 
model would take another seventeen 
years. The course of events leading up to 
adoption of the Garand semiautomatic 
rifle is worth review because it well illus- 
trates the long-drawn-out process of get- 
ting materiel standardized. 

In October 1919 John C. Garand went 
from the Bureau of Standards to the 
Springfield Armory on express assignment 
to design a semiautomatic rifle. The prob- 
lem occupied other designers too, notably 
Capt. Julian S. Hatcher and John D. 
Pedersen. With Pedersen, the Department 
entered into formal contract. The charac- 
teristics required for an acceptable design 
included weight as close to 8 pounds as 
possible and not in excess of 8.5; caliber 
as close as possible to .30, with .276 the 
mimimum; muzzle velocity of at least 
2,450 feet per second; and accuracy up to 
800 yards. As the result of careful tests on 
several competing models in 1920-21, the 
Ordnance Committee in 1923 recom- 
mended that twenty-four Garand rifles be 
made for test by the Infantry and Cavalry. 
Informed Ordnance technicians were op- 
timistic that acceptance would not be long 
delayed; in February 1924 General Wil- 
liams told a House subcommittee that the 
Ordnance Department had a semiauto- 
matic rifle that promised to be satisfac- 
tory. 17 The twenty-four rifles were com- 
pleted in the spring of 1925, tested at 
Aberdeen Proving Ground, and then sent 
to Fort Benning, Georgia, for further 

(1) ODEP, II, 3-40, OHF. (2) Intcrv, 3 May 50, 
with Granville M. Taliaferro, Ammo Br, R&D Serv. 
(3) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1939, pars. 30, 37-39, 46. 

10 (1) Tests and Development of Semi- Automatic 
Shoulder Arms, 1900 to 1914, OHF. (2) Ann Rpt 
CofOrd, 1927, pp. 38-39. 

17 WDAB 1925, HR. p. 1004. 



tests. On the basis of these tests Springfield 
Armory made some modifications and 
then shipped the rifles to Fort Benning 
and to Fort Riley, Kansas, for new trials. 
Meanwhile, models of Pedersen's design 
were tested and retested. 

Expectations for quick completion of the 
project were not realized. In the summer 
of 1929 elaborate formal tests of eight 
types of semiautomatic rifle narrowed the 
choice to two, the Garand .276-caliber 
and the Pedersen .276-caliber. After a 
thorough canvas of the performance and 
production problems involved in each 
rifle, the special board of officers charged 
with making a final decision voted in favor 
of the Garand. In the interim Garand had 
begun work on a .30-caliber rifle and soon 
found that the light weight believed at- 

tainable only in the smaller caliber was 
possible in the larger. The Chief of Staff, 
General Douglas MacArthur, at this point 
insisted upon abandoning work upon the 
,276 and concentrating upon the .30-cali- 
ber. By the next year Garand had com- 
pleted one experimental .30-caliber model, 
which successfully passed tests at Aber- 
deen. 18 The Ordnance Department then 
ordered eighty of this model manufactured 
for final test by the using arms. Springfield 
Armory began manufacture in 1932 and 
finished the job in 1934. Exhaustive tests 
of the seventy-five rifles sent to the Infan- 

ls (1) Maj. Gen. Julian S. Hatcher, The Book of the 
Garand (Washington, 1948), p. 110. (2) Hist of Spring- 
field Armory, II, 48, 48a, 48b, OHF. Advocates of 
Pedersen's design long contended that his was supe- 
rior to the Garand, but careful study of the official 
comparative tests does not bear them out. 



try and Cavalry Boards showed so many 
stoppages that the rifles were returned for 
modifications. After some redesign, Ord- 
nance tests indicated a greatly improved 
rifle, and 1935 tests by the Infantry and 
Cavalry Boards substantiated this find- 
ing. 19 On 9 January 1936 the weapon was 
standardized as Rifle, Semiautomatic, Ml. 

Thirty-five years had elapsed since the 
initiation of the project, nearly seven since 
the decision to use a .30-caliber gas-oper- 
ated type. The slowness of progress was 
partly caused by lack of any sense of 
great urgency. Let the new rifle be as 
nearly perfect as possible before standard- 
izing. Full approval of the using arms was 
clearly desirable before accepting new or 
radically modified weapons, but the conse- 
quent delays were a drawback. Production 
problems were still to be solved. By 30 
June 1936 design of tools, jigs, and fixtures 
was 95 percent complete, and, as money 
for tooling became available, production 
got under way in the latter half of the year. 
Yet innumerable small alterations were 
made during the next two years, and 
changes in details of design, tests, and 
actual manufacture proceeded simultane- 
ously. By 1938 only some 2,000 rifles had 
come off the assembly line. 20 The chief 
consolation over lack of quantity came 
from testimony on quality; comments of 
the troops to whom the first production 
rifles were issued in August 1937 were 
immediately enthusiastic — and this despite 
the high popularity of the predecessor, the 
Springfield rifle Ml 903. With the new Ml 
the average rifleman could fire forty shots 
a minute, and some soldiers as high as a 
hundred a minute. 21 

Nevertheless, Congressional criticism of 
the slowness of work on the Ml and of 
Ordnance development programs as a 
whole was sharp. One Congressman ob- 

served in 1937, "The war has been over 
nearly 20 years, and we have 80 semi- 
automatics in the service; and we are still 
experimenting." 22 As far back as 1926 the 
Secretary of War had tried to hasten the 
process of standardization of all materiel, 
but in 1935 the Chief of Staff was still con- 
cerned with the problem. At its root lay a 
philosophy of perfection held by many 
members of the General Staff, the using 
arms, and the Ordnance Department 
itself. General Malin Craig, Chief of Staff 
from 1935 to 1939, proposed a system of 
yearly standardization and annual revi- 
sion that resulted in a directive ordering 
use in the 1937 program of only standard- 
ized equipment, and freezing the design of 
standardized items from the moment cost 
estimates were submitted until manufac- 
ture was concluded. 23 But this measure 
was at best only an alleviation. Difficulties 
continued. Unequal rates of standardiza- 
tion of closely related items caused great 
trouble. For example, the 37-mm. infantry 
gun and carriage was standardized in 1937 
but had no ammunition approved for 
use. 21 Furthermore, unequal rates of stand- 
ardization of particular components held 
up acceptance of end items. Of the search 
for ideal weapons and the delays that 

'■ J (1) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1934, par. 37a; 1935, par. 
41a. (2) Hatcher, op. ciL, p. 113. 

30 Hist of Springfield Armory, II, 74-75, OHF. 

'-' Frank J. Jervey, "The New Semiautomatic 
Rifle," Army Ordnance, XIX. 1 13 (1938). 147. 

--' WDAB 1938, IIR, pp. 372-78. 

- 3 (1) Maj. Gen. Otto L. Nelson, National Security 
and the General Staff ( Washington, 1946), p. 302. (2) 
OCM 7814, 22 Aug 29, p. 27. (3) Memo. CofS for 
DGofS, 20 Nov 35, sub: Standardization, AG 1 1 1 
(1 1-20-35), DRB AGO. (4) Memo, DCofS for TAG, 
25 Nov 35, sub: Standardization, AG 1 11 (1 1-25-35), 

24 Memo, CofOrd for Ord Tech Staff, 1 Jul 37, sub: 
Procurement Planning and'Standardization of Mate- 
riel, OO 381/8055, NA. 



search entailed, one observer later wrote: 
"The best is the enemy of the good." 25 

Not all development projects, to be sure, 
ran an unduly long course. Modification 
and redesign of machine guns, begun 
immediately after World War I, made 
comparatively rapid progress. Efforts to 
improve the ballistic and cooling charac- 
teristics of the earlier .30-caliber Browning 
machine guns produced the M1919A4 in 
1925, while later collaboration of Ord- 
nance, Air Corps, and Colt Company rep- 
resentatives developed the .30-caliber M2, 
which could be either fixed or flexible and 
permitted either right- or left-hand feed. 
Similarly useful work on mounts went for- 
ward. 2fi Still more significant in terms of 
World War II was the development of the 
.50-caliber machine gun. In 1930 when 
the water-cooled .50-caliber Browning ma- 
chine gun, M1921 A, was standardized, the 
Coast Artillery was satisfied, but Air 
Corps, Infantry, and Cavalry still lacked 
what the Chief of Ordnance described as 
"suitably specialized Brownings." 27 The 
Air Corps needed lightness, rapid rates of 
fire, and right- and left-hand belt feeds; 
tanks required heavy barrel guns with re- 
liable cooling systems. Neither the using 
arms nor the Ordnance Department be- 
lieved it possible to have a single machine 
gun serve several diverse purposes, but in 
the two years between 1931 and 1933 Dr. 
Samuel G. Green of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment succeeded in modifying the Brown- 
ing to make a single basic gun which, 
varied by special features for special pur- 
poses, could meet requirements for all serv- 
ices. The new model, the .50-caliber M2, 
was so designed that the operating mecha- 
nism was the same for each type of gun. 
The heavy barrel of the tank gun, the 
water jacket, sleeve, and 45-inch barrel of 
the antiaircraft gun, and the lighter parts 

of the aircraft gun, could each be affixed 
without modification of the receiver. Here 
was an outstanding achievement, the bene- 
fits of which were to be felt all during 
World War II; manufacturing, mainte- 
nance, and troop training were all eased 
by this simplification of design. 

When the Spanish Civil War provided 
evidence of the operational value of vari- 
ous items of ordnance, American experts 
began to question whether the . 50-caliber 
machine gun were not really obsolete both 
for aircraft and antimechanized use. The 
using arms therefore ran large-scale tests of 
the .50-caliber in competition with several 
types of light automatic cannon. The ver- 
dict was in favor of the machine gun. 28 

Artillery Projects 

While small arms improvements, albeit 
slow, were thus reasonably satisfactory, 
artillery development, the primary objec- 
tive of the Westervelt Board report, made 
scant headway. The program of research 
and development had started off energeti- 
cally in 1919 and 1920, but with the reduc- 
tion in funds after 1921 it contracted "to 
cover reasonably well only infantry, pack 
and divisional materiel, the smallest cali- 

- r> Rpt from London, 31 Jul 40, sub: Mobilization 
of Industry, Rearmament Policies. 27 24-A38/12 IG 
6620, G-2 'file. 

(1) Lt Col Emanuel Schugar, Mr. William H. 
Davis, and Maj Berkeley R. Lewis, sub: United 
States Machine Guns. Caliber .30 and .50. PSP 36, pp. 
21, 48, OHF. (2) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1925, p. 37; 1927, 
par. 60. 

- 7 Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1 930, passim. For earlier work 
upon .50-caliber machine guns see: (1) PSP. 36, p. 25, 
OHF; (2) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1926, par. 54, and 1927, 
par. 57; (3) Proceedings Coast Arty Bd, 15 May 23, 
sub: Project 82. Test of .50-caliber MG, OO 
472.54/1143. NA; i 4) Proceedings Coast Arty Bd. 17 
Jan 25, sub: Project 324. Mount for Cal. .50 MG, OO 
473.93/572, NA; and (5) OCM 4425. 29 Jan 25. 

"(1) PSP 36, pp. 23, 30-32, 58-60, OHF. (2) 
Interv with Dr. Samuel G. Green, 27 Jun 49. 



THE 75-MM. GUN M1923E. This is the improved model. 

ber of antiaircraft materiel and one type of 
tank." 29 Corps, army, and seacoast artil- 
lery projects, relegated to second place, 
scarcely moved forward at all. When, for 
example, tests of 240-mm. howitzer mate- 
riel, conducted at Fort Bragg, North Caro- 
lina, in 1924 and 1925, showed the need of 
modifications, the work was indefinitely 
postponed till money should be available. 30 
The smaller calibers fared somewhat 
better. Completion of a satisfactory 75- 
mm. mortar, the 1922E, was a source of 
special gratification, inasmuch as its prede- 
cessor, the Stokes mortar used in World 
War I, had proved dangerous to the user. 
The new mortar had a 50 percent greater 
muzzle velocity, 150 percent greater range, 
and fired a standard artillery-type shell 

with fragmentation superior to that of the 
Stokes mortar. 31 Ordnance engineers also 
took pride in the design and manufacture 
of a 75-mm. gun to supersede the French 
75, which the AEF used in World War I. 
Between 1920 and 1925 the Ordnance De- 
partment spent over $500,000 on this 
assignment and turned out eight different 
models. After thorough testing by the Field 
Artillery, the 1923E with split-trail car- 
riage was standardized in 1926, and the 

2a Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1924, p. 1 1 . 

: '° Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1925, pp. 14-15. 

31 (1) WDAB 1927, HR, pp. 278-79. (2) Ann Rpt 
CofOrd, 1927. par. 63. (3) ODEP. I, 29-30; II, 20, 

Most of the trouble with the Stokes mortar came 
from the fuze, which was not bore safe. Caliber Bd 
Rpt, p. 21, OKD 334.3/1.3, Ord Tech Intel files. 



next year the Field Artillery received its 
first battery of these new 75's. 32 As aircraft 
assumed a larger role, attention focused on 
antiaircraft weapons, particularly a 3-inch 
gun. Joint antiaircraft exercises held yearly 
after 1925 by the Air Corps, Signal Corps, 
Corps of Engineers, Coast Artillery Corps, 
and Ordnance Department gave oppor- 
tunity to test all features of new materiel. 
The performance of the 3-inch antiaircraft 
gun, standardized in 1926, and of new 
computers, searchlights, and sound-locator 
systems was considered good, although the 
percentage of hits on aerial targets re- 
mained low. In the manufacture of the 
3-inch gun, Watertown Arsenal applied 
for the first time in production the process 
of autofrettage or radial expansion. While 
French producers had long used this proc- 
ess, improvements in the method devised 
by arsenal engineers produced a superior 
forging so quickly and economically that 
the technique was soon applied to manu- 
facture of other guns. Another innovation 
was the use of removable liners on the 
3-inch gun, a scheme that the Chief of 
Ordnance estimated as saving 50 percent 
of the cost of retubing by earlier proc- 
esses. 33 But since the gun had to be re- 
turned to the arsenal to have the liner 
replaced, the advantage of the system dur- 
ing World War II was nil. 

These achievements were only a fraction 
of what Ordnance Department plans en- 
compassed. Modernization of existing guns 
and carriages about 1930 was given prece- 
dence over development of new with the 
result, deplored by many officers, that 
design of new materiel was brought prac- 
tically to a standstill for some years. 34 The 
scope of research and development work 
on artillery before 1940 is perhaps best 
shown by sketching the progress on four 
items. The choice of the 75 -mm. pack how- 

itzer, the 37-mm. antitank gun, and the 
105-mm. and 240-mm. howitzers is based 
upon the contemporary importance at- 
tached to the first two and upon the faith 
combat troops later placed in the last two. 

75-mm. Pack Howitzer 

The 75-mm. pack howitzer belongs to 
the specialized group of weapons assigned 
for use in mountainous country where mo- 
torized or horse-drawn artillery cannot go. 
Easy disassembly for packing on mule- 
back is essential. Before World War I the 
Ordnance Department had spent a good 
deal of effort designing a mountain gun 
better than the English Vickers-Maxim 
2.95-inch then in use. but the project was 
dropped when it was apparent that the 
AEF would have no use for mountain 
guns. In 1919 the Westervelt Board, reviv- 
ing the project, pronounced a pack how- 
itzer to be "one of the items of artillery in 
most urgent need of development." 35 The 
ideal weapon should have a caliber of 
about 3 inches, possible elevation of 45 
degrees, a minimum range of at least 5,000 
yards, and should be capable of being 
packed in four separate loads of about 225 

'-(1) ODEP, I, 87, 101, OHF. (2) Ann Rpt 
CofOrd, 1926, par. 59; 1927, par. 66. 

(1) APG, Rpt of AA Exercises by 61st CA (AA) 
and Ord Pcrs at APG, 7 Sep-8 Nov 26, pp. 1-4, 
58-59. (2) APG, Rpt of A A Exercises . . . 1927, pp. 
58-66; 1928, pp. 99-107, 121-38; 1929, pp. 56-57, 
63-64; 1930. p. 29. charts facing pp. 30, 51. Both 
in NA. 

For Congressional interest in antiaircraft tests see: 
WDAB 1929, HR. pp. 519-23: Ann Rpt CofOrd, 
1925. pars. 62, 104; 1926. pars. 92. 93; and ODEP, I, 
84, 212, OHF. 

34 Memo, Maj J. H. Wallace, FA, for Chairman 
Ord Tech Committee, 13 Dec 34, sub: Preliminary- 
Estimates for FY 1937, Project 5-R&D, AG 111 
(12-13-34), NA. 

"Caliber Bd Rpt, pars. 70-7 1, OKD 334.3/1.3, 
Ord Tech Intel files. 



THE 75-MM. PACK HOWITZER Ml 920. The tube load is shown here; the recupera- 
tor and other four loads are packed similarly. 

pounds each. A first postwar model, the 
M1920 which incorporated these features, 
was soon found unsatisfactory, chiefly be- 
cause recuperator, piston rod, and trail 
were inadequate. 3fi The next six years saw 
intensive work on models designed to cor- 
rect these weaknesses and to furnish a 
mountain gun at least as powerful as new 
foreign types. Greater range was particu- 
larly desired. The weapon standardized in 
1927 as the 75-mm. Pack Howitzer Ml 
had a range of 9,200 yards and weighed 
1,269 pounds in firing position. It took 
rank as one of the most efficient artillery 
weapons yet devised. 37 The Chief of Field 
Artillery asserted: "It is a remarkable 
weapon with a great future . . . . In its 

adaptability under pack it has exceeded 
any expectations which could reasonably 
have been held considering the power of 
the weapon." 38 Some modifications, chiefly 
of the recoil mechanism, and a new car- 
riage were completed during the thirties. 

16 (1) Ibid. (2) OCM 1621, 16 Aug 21. 

■ 17 E. C. Goebert, "Our New Pack Artillery," Army 
Ordnance, XIII, 75 (1932), 144-50. Maj. Jonathan 
VV. Anderson, FA, had submitted a summary of for- 
eign weapons in May 1922 upon which the Ordnance 
Committee based its decisions to redesign the Ameri- 
can model. See: (1) memo, Maj Anderson, FA repre- 
sentative on Ord Committee, for CofOrd, 4 May 22, 
sub: Pack Artillery Materiel, with atchd rpt, OO 
455.5/133, NA; and (2) OCM 2260, 21 Jul 22; 6407, 
12 Aug 27; 6499, 22 Sep 27. 

" OCM 6407, 1 1 Aug 27, and inel, ltr, CofFA to 



But in spite of faith in the usefulness of this 
weapon, only thirty-two pack howitzers 
had been manufactured by 1 July 1940. 39 

37-mm. Antitank Gun 

What the ideal future antitank gun 
should be the Caliber Board made no 
attempt in its 1919 report to state in detail, 
for the board assumed that developments 
of tank armor would necessitate use of a 
base-fuzed shell, probably of about 75-mm. 
caliber. 40 It was a singularly prophetic 
view. While a 37-mm. model for the Infan- 
try was designed and standardized in the 
late twenties, development of a modern 
antitank gun was not begun in earnest 
until 1936. Long before then, European 
nations had been working on so-called 
antimechanization weapons. Abroad, stop- 
ping the tank was considered the number 
one military problem. In America as late 
as the summer of 1931, the Field Artillery 
Board had announced its continuing con- 
fidence in the recommendations of the 
Caliber Board of twelve years before: .50- 
caliber machine guns, 37-mm. guns with 
armor-piercing shot, and 75-mm. guns 
were suitable means of attacking tanks 
as built in World War I. "There has been," 
stated the Field Artillery Board, "no 
change in armor protection since then to 
warrant changing the recommendations of 
the [Caliber] Board." 41 

When the service tests conducted in 
1932 convinced both the Field Artillery 
and the Infantry that the 37-mm. gun, the 
M2A1 , should be marked for obsolescence, 
the Infantry was left with only an ineffec- 
tive 1916 37-mm. model. It was another 
three years before the using arms proposed 
development of a weapon based upon re- 
vised military characteristics. Tests of a 
Hotchkiss 25-mm. automatic antitank gun 

during 1935 had produced little useful in- 
formation. Then in December reports 
from the military observer in Berlin stirred 
the Field Artillery and the Infantry to re- 
quest trial of a German antitank gun that 
the Rheinmetall Company was offering to 
foreign governments for test and quantity 
purchase. 4 " This launched the Ordnance 
Department upon serious study of anti- 
mechanization weapons. 

After formal request of the Infantry for 
a new 37-mm. gun and the purchase of a 
Rheinmetall model for test, Infantry, 
Field Artillery, and Ordnance spent over 
a year preparing, revising, and again re- 
stating desired military characteristics in 
keeping with what was feasible. 43 In Sep- 
tember 1937 the Chief of Staff injected a 
note of unexpected urgency in his instruc- 
tions to the Chief of Ordnance: 

2. It appears that none of the greater 
Powers have failed to develop and to have 
now in use effective anti-tank and intermedi- 
ate anti-aircraft weapons, while we, on the 
other hand, have no weapons of this type 

3. I regard it as of urgent importance that 
the Ordnance Department concentrate in- 

:i " (1) Ltr, CofFA thru CofOrd to TAG, 18 Jan 29, 
sub: Procurement of 75mm Pack Howitzer Materiel, 

00 472.2/626, NA. (2) Ltr, CofOrd to TAG, 10 Apr 
30, sub: War Reserve of "75mm Pack Howitzer 
Ammunition, OO 472.12/1406, NA. (3) OCM 9201, 

1 Oct 31 and 11660, 16 Aug 34. (4) Folders in OO 
472.2/1801-1950, Oct 39-Apr 40, NA. (5) General 
Supply Div, FS, Consolidated Supply Rpt, Status of 
Principal Items of Ord General Supply as of 1 Nov 39 
(Form 87), NA, 

40 Caliber Bd Rpt, par. 76, OKD 334.3/1.3, Ord 
Tech Intel files. 

■» OCM 9145, 27 Aug 31. 

42 (1) OCM 10350, 15 Dec 33; 1 1397, 5 Apr 34; 
11622, 26 Jul 34; 12558, 19 Dec 35. (2) FA Bd Rpt 
053-C, 19 Dec 35, NA. 

41 (1) OCM 13348, 14 Jan 37; 13473, 25 Feb 37; 
13665, 8 Mav 37. (2) Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 30 Aug 
37, OO 472.1/3367, NA. (3) Ltr, CofOrd to CofS, 2 
Sep 37, sub: Antitank and Antiaircraft Development, 
OO 472/3371, NA. 



THE 37-MM. GUN M1916, with flash hider attached to barrel. 

tensively on the development of efficient 
weapons of these two types, putting both of 
them on an equal first priority, and procur- 
ing, or developing something which has 
already been procured, so that in time of 
need we may be on a substantially equal 
footing with a possible enemy. 41 

The program from that moment moved 
more quickly. The comparison of the Ger- 
man 37-mm. gun with the American ex- 
perimental model evolved during 1937 
appeared to be all in favor of the latter. 
Where the German gun with a muzzle ve- 
locity of 2,650 feet per second would pene- 
trate 1%-inch armor plate at 730 yards at 
normal angle of fire and at 440 yards at a 
20 degree angle, the American gun with a 
muzzle velocity of 2,600 feet per second 
would penetrate at 1,060 yards and 800 
yards respectively. A French 25-mm. and 
a German 47-mm. gave less satisfactory 

performance than either 37-mm. The 
Chief of Infantry therefore recommended 
that the specifications of the new medium 
tank then under consideration include ar- 
mament of the "37-mm. anti-tank gun 
now being developed by the Ordnance 
Department." 45 The design that was 
eventually accepted closely resembled the 
German Rheinmetall weapon though, by 
the time the American 37-mm. antitank 
gun M3 was adopted, the German Army 
had antitank weapons ranging from 50 to 
80-mm., and the Red Army had an excel- 

" Memo, CofS for CofOrd, 3 Sep 37, sub: Antitank 
and Intermediate AA Development, OO 472/3373, 

< 5 Memo, Coflnf thru CofOrd for TAG, 16 Nov 37, 
sub: Characteristics of Medium Tank T5. OI- 
470.8/550-B, cited in 37-mm Guns M5 and M6, PSP 
28, OHF. 



lent 45-mm. gun battle-tested in the Span- 
ish Civil War. 46 

The American gun was designed for use 
not only on tanks but also as a light field 
gun mounted on its own carriage, adapted 
to towing either by truck or tractor or by 
its crew of four men. Hence the Infantry 
was insistent that the weight of gun and 
carriage together must not exceed 1,000 
pounds. This weight limit precluded a gun 
of larger caliber. The gun itself was basi- 
cally one and the same whether mounted 
on a carriage or in a tank, but because the 
gun when mounted in a tank had to be 
shortened six inches, it was redesignated 
the 37-mm. M5, and later, with a change 
in the breech mechanism, the M6. The 
antitank gun M3, for mounting upon the 
carriage M4, kept a hand-operated breech 
mechanism. This gun was 6 feet 10.5 
inches long, weighed 191 pounds, had a 
muzzle velocity of 2,600 feet per second, a 
range of about 12,000 yards, and could 
fire 25 rounds a minute. Ordnance engi- 
neers expended only less effort upon the 
carriage than upon the gun, inasmuch as 
the traverse, elevating mechanism, and 
locking devices were fixed to the carriage/ 7 
The requirement for ammunition was 
armor-piercing shot capable of penetrat- 
ing 1.5 inches of armor on impact 20 de- 
grees from normal at a range of 1,000 
yards. By 1938 armor-piercing shot M51 
was standardized with tracer, and later 
also a high-explosive shell with the M38A1 
base detonating fuze. 48 

Thus, some four years were devoted to 
development of the U.S. Army's first anti- 
tank gun which, in terms of what the 
Soviet Union and Germany had ready by 
1939, was obsolete before it was standard- 
ized. From a military observer in Europe 
word had come of developments in Ger- 
many, and observers in Spain during the 

Spanish Civil War had opportunity to 
note the outstanding performance of the 
Russian 45-mm. antitank gun. Yet the de- 
cision to push the 37-mm. was not 
rescinded. In August 1938, before the 
Ordnance Department had proceeded far 
with procurement, the War Department 
issued explicit instructions to the Chief of 

1 . The Infantry is designated as the most 
interested using arm for the 37mm antitank 
gun under AR 850-25. 

2. No development funds will be expended 
by the Ordnance Department during the 
Fiscal Years 1939 or 1940 in the development 
of antimechanized weapons of larger than 
37mm caliber. If the necessity for an anti- 
tank gun of larger than 37mm caliber de- 
velops, the arm responsible for its develop- 
ment will be designated at that time. 48 

This decision of the General Staff, closing 
the door to alternative design, was de- 
plored by many Ordnance officers. The 
chief of the Artillery Branch of the Manu- 
facturing Division from 1937 to 1939 later 

The Ordnance Department was well 
aware that the 37mm gun was totally inade- 
quate as an antitank gun, and many and re- 
peated efforts were made to convince the 
various interested using services personnel of 
this fact. 

The Infantry personnel were very much 
impressed with the compact design of the 
Rheinmetall 37 and at one time in fact de- 
manded a duplicate. The deciding criterion 
was the overall weight . . . 850 pounds. 

4,1 (1) Catalogue of Standard Ord Items, Compari- 
son of American. German, and Japanese Ordnance, 
II, 156-57. (2) Dept of the Army Pamphlet 30-2, 
"The Soviet Army," Jul 49, p. 22. ' 

17 OCM 14572, 14 Jul 38: 14762. 27 Oct 38: 14824, 
15 Dec 38; 15404, 10 Oct 39; 16197, 22 Oct 40; 16279, 
19 Nov 40. 

48 OCM 14801, 25 Nov 38; 15105, 15 Jun 39. 

49 Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 1 1 Aug 38, sub: Responsi- 
bility for Development of Antitank Guns and of Tacti- 
cal Doctrine for Their Use, OO 472. 1/1736, NA. 



This was considered the maximum that four 
men could comfortably wheel over the 

It is my opinion that all of the early artil- 
lery of World War II . . . suffered from the 
continued insistence by the using arms on 
mobility even at the expense of striking 
power. 50 

This testimony leads to the conclusion 
that General Williams' scheme of allowing 
the using arms to have the final say about 
types of equipment had been carried to an 
extreme where Ordnance experts could no 
longer greatly influence important deci- 
sions. Yet a proposal of the Field Artillery 
in December 1938 indicates that the Ord- 
nance Department missed an opportunity 
partially to redeem the error imposed by 
the Infantry demand for a light mobile 
gun and the consequent directive to de- 
sign nothing larger. The Chief of Field 
Artillery, citing observers' information on 
the antitank guns being built in Europe, 
requested that the War Department's in- 
structions be rescinded and a more power- 
ful weapon be produced for the Field Ar- 
tillery. The proposal was for a truck- 
drawn weapon weighing about 1,500 
pounds with a muzzle velocity sufficient to 
penetrate 2.5-inch armor at impact 20 
degrees from normal at a range of 1,000 
yards. But the Chief of Ordnance objected 
that the introduction of an additional 
weapon with new types of ammunition 
would complicate production and supply, 
that the 75-mm. howitzer and 75-mm. 
field gun effectively supplemented the 37- 
mm. as antitank weapons, and that the 
gun requested by the Field Artillery could 
not weigh less than 2,700 pounds. The 
Field Artillery withdrew- its request. 51 Six- 
teen months later the Chief of Staff re- 
viewed the question. "It occurs to me," 
wrote General Marshall in June 1940, 
"that we should initiate development of a 

heavier caliber antitank gun than the 37- 
mm. Reports from abroad indicate that 
the 37-mm. has been found comparatively 
ineffective against the heavier type tank 
armor and that a 47-mm. gun (possibly on 
a self-propelled mount) may be necessary 
as an arm for corps and division antiair- 
craft battalions." S2 

General Wesson's reply evinced no cor- 
responding anxiety. He repeated the sub- 
stance of his earlier statement that for its 
weight the 37-mm. antitank gun was very 
effective; it would penetrate the armor on 
American light and medium tanks. The 
47-mm., a study of which had been con- 
ducted in 1939, was not enough more 
powerful than the 37-mm. to justify de- 
velopment. At least a 57-mm. would be 
needed, and in view of the existence of 
the 75-mm. field gun, work on a 57-mm. 
seemed uncalled for. The 37-mm. supple- 
mented by the 75-mm. with armor-pierc- 
ing ammunition appeared to be adequate, 
though perhaps a more powerful gun 
might be needed to combat heavy tanks." 3 
In conclusion he declared that the best 
way to supply self-propelled antitank ar- 
tillery was to mount antitank guns on 
tanks. 14 Six weeks later an observer in 

'" Ltr, Col Steven L. Conner to author, 16 Jan 50. 

■"" (1) Memo, CofFA thru CofOrd for TAG. 6 Dec 
38. sub: Antitank Gun of Caliber Larger than 37mm. 
(2) Ibid., 1st Ind, CofOrd for TAG,"l2 Dec 38. (3) 
Ibid., 3d Ind. CofFA for TAG, 1 Feb 39. All in OO 
472.5/9884, NA. 

r >" Memo. CofS for ACofS G-4, 3 Jun 40, atchd to 
memo, ACofS G-4 for CofOrd, 6 Jun 40. sub: Devel- 
opment of Heavier Antitank Gun . . . , OO 
472.1/2321, DRB AGO. 

r '-' Seventeen months later the 3-inch gun M5 was 
accepted as the antitank weapon for use against the 
most heavily armored tanks. OCM 1 7407, 6 Nov 41. 
Se ejCh. X,| below. 

Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 7 Jun 40, sub: 
Emplovment of Antitank Artillery and AA Artillery 
in Antimechanized Defense, OO 47 2/3674, DRB 



London was again to protest large-scale 
production of an "antitank gun whose 
power does not guarantee success in en- 
gaging tanks known to be used by any 
prospective enemy."" But the program 
for 37-mm. antitank guns continued. 56 

105-mm. Howitzer 

In World War I the United States Army 
had used the 155-mm. howitzer as a divi- 
sional artillery piece, but its unsuitabilities 
for that purpose — its lack of sufficient 
mobility to be a companion piece to the 
75-mm. gun, its wasteful consumption of 
ammunition, and its lack of volume of 
fire — combined to convince the Westervelt 
Board that a howitzer of about 105-mm. 
caliber should be developed. The reason- 
ing of the board was stated thus: 

The consensus of opinion of artillery offi- 
cers is that the division artillery missions are 
best fulfilled by a light field gun and a light 
field howitzer. . . . There are many in- 
stances where the terrain offers such protec- 
tion to infantry that the field gun cannot 
bring an effective fire. The howitzer has the 
great advantage that with a proper set of 
charges and therefore a choice of trajec- 
tories for the same range, protected positions 
can be chosen for howitzers that guns could 
not use, and angles of fall on objectives ob- 
tained that the normal ammunition of guns 
would not give. The low muzzle velocity of 
howitzers admits of their use in harassing fire 
and allows the use of a projectile double the 
weight of that of the field gun. Such a how- 
itzer renders excellent service in wire cutting 
and is a useful projector of gas shells. To in- 
sure the mobility required of all divisional 
artillery, the weight of the howitzer and car- 
riage should not exceed that of the field gun 
and carriage, or about 4,500 pounds/' 7 

The board specified a howitzer mounted 
on a carriage permitting a vertical arc of 
fire of from minus 5 degrees to plus 65 de- 

grees and a horizontal arc of fire of 360 
degrees. The carriage should be usable in- 
terchangeably for either howitzers or divi- 
sional light guns. The projectile should 
weigh about 30 to 35 pounds and should 
include both shrapnel and shell. A maxi- 
mum range of 12,000 yards would answer. 
Semifixed ammunition and zone charges 
were to be used. 

Based upon this recommendation, ex- 
perienced Field Artillery and Ordnance 
officers jointly drew up specifications, and 
in 1920 four carriages and four howitzers 
were built for test. These models were un- 
satisfactory. In the course of the next year, 
at the request of the Field Artillery, a box- 
trail carriage was designed and tried out 
with some success, although the Field Ar- 
tillery Board was unwilling to abandon 
altogether the split-trail type of carriage 
because of the wider traverse it permitted. 
In the meantime, while the Ordnance De- 
partment worked upon improved Ameri- 
can models of both carriage and howitzer, 
the Field Artillery tested some of the Ger- 
man 105's. captured in World War I and 
rechambered to take American ammuni- 
tion. The using arm's enthusiasm over the 
German materiel was such that the Field 
Artillery Board recommended its adop- 
tion for service use, but shortage of proper 
ammunition, the cost of putting the 300 
German howitzers into condition, and the 
lack of uniformity in those on hand from 
which to prepare drawings for later quan- 
tity production led the Chief of Ordnance 
to protest. The decision of the General 
Staff was therefore to put the German 

r " Radioeram, London to MID G-2, 21 Jul 40, sub: 
Selection of Production Types. 2724A38/1 1, IG 6620, 

See below. |Gh. XL 
Caliber Bd Rpt, par. 8, OKD 334.3/1.3. Ord 
Tech Intel files. 



howitzers in storage and have one battery 
of four new American models manufac- 
tured for service test.' 8 

For the next three years work upon the 
105 was pushed as rapidly as appropria- 
tions allowed, for, as the Chief of Ord- 
nance announced in 1926, the develop- 
ment of a satisfactory 105-mm. howitzer 
was considered the most pressing Ord- 
nance problem. Some $400,000 had been 
spent upon the project since the end of the 
war. Cancellation of the requirement of a 
carriage so constructed as to be inter- 
changeable for gun or howitzer hastened 
successful design of a carriage, and in 
January 1928 a split-trail type manufac- 
tured at Rock Island Arsenal was stand- 
ardized as the carriage Ml. The howitzer 
standardized at the same time had a range 
just under the 12,000 yards desired. A 
greater deviation from the original specifi- 
cations was a horizontal traverse of only 
45 degrees instead of the 360 degrees stipu- 
lated at first. Over-all weight of howitzer 
and carriage was 3,750 pounds. s9 Before 
any of this model was produced, modifica- 
tion of the chamber was initiated in order 
to make possible loading of shrapnel as 
fixed ammunition. The altered howitzer 
was called the M2 and officially adopted 
in 1934. Later, the requirement for shrap- 
nel was canceled. 6 " 

Fourteen M2 models were manufac- 
tured and twelve were issued to the Field 
Artillery for extended service test between 
1928 and 1933. Two were kept at Aber- 
deen Proving Ground for use in develop- 
ing ammunition. The howitzer proved 
satisfactory, but in 1933 the Field Artil- 
lery requested redesign of the carriage to 
provide high-speed characteristics and to 
eliminate the need of a recoil pit. After 
thorough study of the problem, design of 

a new recoil mechanism and of a lighter 
carriage equipped with pneumatic tires 
and antifriction bearings began in 1936. 
Though a satisfactory recoil mechanism 
was completed in 1939, both experimental 
carriages had deficiencies. Reduction of 
weight was particularly important; to ef- 
fect this, new military characteristics were 
drawn up. Of the two new models de- 
signed according to the revised specifica- 
tions, the Field Artillery Board in January 
1940 pronounced one acceptable if certain 
minor defects were corrected in produc- 
tion models. 61 The carriage M2 was ac- 
cordingly standardized on 28 March 1940. 

Thirteen of the existing fourteen Ml 
carriages were modified by adding adap- 
ters, drawbars, and brakes to make them 
suitable for use. as truck-drawn artillery, 
and these modified carriages, designated 
M1A1, were classified as limited standard. 
At the same time design of the howitzer 
was slightly altered by change in the trig- 
ger shaft and minor redimensioning of 
other parts. These changes, applied on a 
production order for forty-eight M2 how- 
itzers placed in the summer of 1939, oc- 
casioned the change in nomenclature to 
the 105-mm. howitzer M2A1. S2 This was 

' K (]) ODEP, I, 106-1 1, OHF. (2) Memo, CofFA 
for CofOrd. 16 May 23, sub: Rpt of Tests of 105 mm 
Howitzers bv FA Bd. OO 472.22/1 17, NA. (3) Memo, 
CofFA for CofOrd. 22 Oct 23, sub: Modification of 
105 mm Howitzers, OO 472.22/124, NA. (4) 4th Ind 
to memo in (3), CofOrd for TAG, 3 I Jan 25, sub: 
Approval of Rpt on Test of 105 Howitzers. (5) 5th 
Ind to memo in (3). TAG thru CofOrd for CofFA, 14 
Feb 25. Last two in OO 472.22/141, NA. 

59 (1) ODEP, I. 105-29, OHF. (2) Ann Rpt 
CofOrd. 1926, pp. 13-14; 1927, par. 68; 1928, par. 58. 
(3) OCM 6684, 5Jan 28. 

"" OCM 1 1395, 5 Apr 34: 1 1933, 24 Jan 35. 

B1 OCM 1 1020, 5 Oct 33: 12968, 2 Jul 36; 13051, 
13 Aug 3 6; 15639, 23 Feb 40. OCM 15639 gives a 
complete historv of the project from 1933 on. 
OCM 13639, 23 Feb 40; 15692, 28 Mar 40. 



the divisional artillery piece that reached 
quantity production early in the war and, 
used in numbers by troops in every the- 
atre, won the appellation, "work-horse of 
the Army." Its rate of fire was twenty 
rounds a minute; it fired thirteen different 
kinds of shell. 

240-mm. Howitzer 

The 240-mm. howitzer development 
project is of peculiar interest, in spite of its 
short span of life during the peace years, 
for the plan to design a self-propelled 
mount for so big a weapon was audacious 
in 1919. Like the other major artillery 
items upon which Ordnance designers 
worked before 1940, the original impetus 
to develop this huge howitzer came from 
the Caliber Board. Intent upon rounding 
out divisional and corps artillery with 
powerful field army pieces, the Caliber 
Board recommended an 8-inch gun with a 
maximum range of 35,000 yards and a 
240-mm. howitzer with maximum range 
of 25,000 yards. The 240-mm. howitzer 
1918M1 of World War I with a range of 
about 16,000 yards would serve as a point 
of departure-in designing the more power- 
ful weapon, but the carriage, to be of a 
type requiring the least possible prepara- 
tion for firing, was a knottier problem. "No 
type of road mount is known which is sat- 
isfactory in this respect," stated the report, 
"but the Board has in mind the develop- 
ment of a caterpillar type. The maximum 
speed need not exceed six miles per 
hour." Iyi Its difficulties notwithstanding, 
this project was included in the list of de- 
velopments upon which the Ordnance De- 
partment immediately embarked. But the 
240-mm., because of the high cost of de- 
veloping it, stood low on the list. 

In March 1920 the Artillery Division of 
the Ordnance Department informed the 
Technical Staff that mounting on a cater- 
pillar-type carriage a howitzer of the 
power recommended would bring the 
weight to some 1 15,000 pounds, far in ex- 
cess of the 40-ton limit the Corps of Engi- 
neers set for its highway bridges. Dividing 
the load would therefore be necessary.* 1 * 
Accordingly, after careful study of alter- 
natives, the decision was reached a year 
later to design a caterpillar mount driven 
by an electric motor supplied with power 
from a gas-electric generator set upon a 
separate vehicle. The specifications also 
called for a howitzer with a vertical arc of 
fire from zero degrees to 65 degrees and 
for a 345-pound projectile. In order to as- 
semble ballistic data, firing tests of the 
French Schneider 240-mm. howitzer 
M1918 and the American model 1918M1 
proceeded at both Aberdeen Proving 
Ground and Fort Bragg during the suc- 
ceeding two years, but no draftsman was 
assigned to design of the carriage. While 
the Ordnance Department realized that 
the problems involved must make redesign 
of the howitzer and new design of the car- 
riage a time-consuming undertaking, the 
priority given the project was too low to 
permit it to survive the cuts in appropria- 
tions of 1924. It was suspended till more 
money would be available. That time did 
not come for over fifteen years. 05 

'» (1) Caliber Bd Rpt. par. 48, OKD 334.3/1.3, Ord 
Tech Intel files. (2) Growell, America's Munitions, 
1917-1.918, pp. 83-8ri. 

" J Memo. Col G. F. Jenks for Technical Staff, 23 
Mar 20, sub: 240-mm. Materiel, copy in PSP 26, De- 
sign, Development and Production of Heavy Mobile 
Artillery. OHF. 

' ; 1 • OCM 1355. 29 Mar 21: 1585. 29 Jun 21: 
1594, 9 Aug 21; 2199, 9 Jun 22; 3156. 27 Jun 23; 4110, 
8 Sep 24. (2) ODEP, I. 155, 176, O HF, f3t Ann Rpt 
CofOrd. 1925. pp. 14-15. See above jch. 



Development of Combat Vehicles 
Tank Doctrine and Policy Statements 

For tanks, problems in research and de- 
velopment were heightened by difficulties 
that did not obtain in other fields. Experi- 
mentation with small arms and small 
arms ammunition had been a major con- 
cern of the Ordnance Department for over 
a hundred years. For artillery, the Caliber 
Board's recommendations of 1919 created 
a consistent pattern of development, 
whether acceptable to the using arms in 
all particulars or not. But for tank develop- 
ment, the War Department made no 
such far-sighted, long-term plans. Sugges- 
tions from the Chief of Ordnance in Octo- 
ber 1919 that a tank board be appointed 
to recommend a permanent tank develop- 
ment policy netted no action. In fact, 
within the next few months the General 
Staff, without making any study of the fu- 
ture of combat vehicles, arrived at two im- 
portant decisions that gravely and most 
adversely affected development for years 
to come. 

The first decision was to abolish the 
Tank Corps created in 1918. The Tank 
Corps, the only unit of the U.S. Army that 
had war experience with tanks, was im- 
bued with enthusiasm and possessed of 
progressive ideas on tank development. 
The dispersal of the corps was dishearten- 
ing to tank advocates and, as one officer 
later wrote, "was a clear indication that 
the future use of tanks in war was consid- 
ered of little importance." 1,6 The second 
decision, assignment of tanks exclusively 
to the Infantry, soon proved to be still 
more shortsighted. Other nations, to be 
sure, at the time were similarly making 
the tank an adjunct of the Infantry, but in 
the United States the General Staff got 

this decree incorporated as law in the 
1920 National Defense Act. The purpose 
was to prevent the Tank Corps from ever 
being reconstituted to plague the Infantry 
and other arms as a separate mechanized 
force comparable to the Air arm. The re- 
sult was twofold: for years it precluded the 
growth of any interest in cross-country 
combat vehicles by arms other than the 
Infantry, and later, when interest widened, 
it hampered plans to extend the use of 
tanks in war. As long as tanks were re- 
garded solely as support for the riflemen 
in attack, Infantry concepts of their use 
necessarily predominated. When early in 
the thirties the Chief of Staff recognized 
the interest of the Cavalry in mechanized 
equipment, the War Department had to 
resort to elaborations of nomenclature in 
order to adhere to the letter of the law: 
Cavalry tanks were labeled combat cars 
until in 1940 a separate Armored Force 
was established. 

In the year following the Armistice, 
while the Ordnance Department waited 
for the General Staff to announce its policy 
on postwar tank development, Maj. R. E. 
Carlson, an American member of the 
Anglo-American Tank Commission, made 
a complete survey of the situation and 
tendered recommendations on types for 
future development.' 57 With these data as 
a guide and with the approval of the Chief 
of the Tank Corps and the Chief of Infan- 
try, the Ordnance Department then em- 
barked upon design of a fast medium tank. 
But tanks are costly. Obviously it was un- 

l!e Maj Gen Charles L. Scott, Comments for Hist of 
Development of Combat Vehicles, 2 Mar 50 (here- 
after cited as Scott Comments for Hist of Combat 
Vehicles), OHF. 

6T Maj R. E. Carlson, Paper on Development of 
Tanks, 16 Mar 21, OKD 451.25/56, Ord Tech Intel 



sound to spend large sums of money in 
producing models that the General Staff 
would not approve. In a machine so com- 
plex as a tank, achieving one desired 
characteristic often necessitates sacrifice of 
another. Determination of what is to be a 
primary consideration in design, what a 
secondary, must depend on clear under- 
standing of the tactical use intended. 
Though the Infantry, as the using arm 
after June 1920, was charged with stipu- 
lating the tactical requirements for tanks, 
these requirements in turn had to fit the 
general principles of use which only the 
General Staff was empowered to decide. 

Between 1919 and 1922 the General 
Staff made no move to commit itself. The 
Ordnance Department. had already spent 
much money on tank development. Some 
official statement of policy was imperative. 
In March 1921 the Ordnance Depart- 
ment submitted to the War Department 
an expanded version of the Carlson report 
and two and a half months later requested 
a formal declaration of approved policy 
and tactical requirements for all tanks. 
The answer, sent in an indorsement 
through The Adjutant General's office in 
April 1922, established the principal basis 
for tank development for the next decade. 
It read: 

1. The primary mission of the tank is to 
facilitate the uninterrupted advance of the 
riflemen in the attack. Its size, armament, 
speed and all the accessories for making it an 
offensive force must be approached with 
above mission as the final objective to be ob- 
tained in development. 

2. As a matter of economy and simplicity 
in organization, the number of types of tanks 
should be kept at a minimum. Reliance can- 
not safely be placed on a single type of tank, 
but two types, a light and a medium, should 
be capable of fulfilling all assigned missions. 

3. These types should be as follows: 

(a) The light tank not exceeding 5 tons 

in weight and capable of being transported 
on heavy motor trucks. 

(b) The medium tank not exceeding 15 
tons in weight, thereby bringing it within 
the limits of average highway bridges, the 
capacity of railroads and the limit of 15 
tons placed by the War Department on the 
medium pontoon bridge. 

4. Inasmuch as certain progress has 
already been obtained toward developing 
tanks of the medium type, first consideration 
should be given to that type, which is capa- 
ble of doing all that is required of a light 
tank, except being transported on trucks. In 
the development of the medium tank, con- 
sideration should be given to the essentials 
necessary to make it a fighting machine. Its 
speed should be the greatest possible consist- 
ent with the limitation in weight, economy in 
fuel, and radius of action. The control of 
speed should permit a reduction to that of 
the advancing riflemen. 

5. The armament of medium tanks should 
consist of machine guns and guns of heavier 
caliber. The guns should be capable of firing 
upon enemy troops in trenches, and engage 
hostile tanks on a basis of equality; they 
should, therefore, be of as large caliber as is 
consistent with prescribed weight limits and 
ammunition supply, but no necessity is seen 
for high angle fire. The radius of the action, 
vision and maneuverabilities of tanks should 
permit complete fulfillment of the assigned 
mission. These essentials should be deter- 
mined after thorough study and experiment 
and concurrent with the development of pilot 
tanks. Auxiliary vehicles, except signal tanks, 
should not be of a type special to the tank 
service alone. 

6. The tank is not likely to decrease in im- 
portance as a war weapon, but tank construc- 
tion is expensive and it must be expected that 
funds will be limited. It is, therefore, directed 
that developments be conducted along the 
following lines: 

a. The Chief of Ordnance will be al- 
lowed great latitude in the development of 
pilot tank for test purposes, in close coop- 
eration with the Chief of Infantry. 

b. The first program will be the devel- 
opment of suitable medium pilot tanks 
with their equipment, of a weight not ex- 
ceeding 15 tons, and of a maximum speed 



of not less than twelve miles per hour. 

c. That for the present funds and effort 
will be applied principally to development 
purposes rather than to the construction of 
complete tank units. 

d. The manufacture of complete tank 
units will not be undertaken until suitable 
medium pilot tanks have been developed 
and have been approved by the War De- 
partment as the best available type. 

e. Tanks will not be designed with a 
special adaptation to chemical warfare, ex- 
cept that if it be found practicable to do so 
the tanks should be made gas-proof and 
supplied with a means of producing non- 
toxic smoke clouds. In this development, 
the Chief, Chemical Warfare Service, will 
be consulted. 

f. The development of special auxiliary 
vehicles for tank service alone will not be 
undertaken; but there is no objection to 
the consideration of general purpose vehi- 
cles capable of meeting the general needs 
of the Army, as well as the special require- 
ments for tanks. 

g. Expenditure of funds on existing 
tanks will be limited to the amount neces- 
sary to keep those in actual service in re- 
pair, and those in storage from deteriora- 
tion. GS 

The most significant feature of this out- 
line of policy is that it was an outline only. 
Its two pages are in marked contrast to the 
fifty-odd closely typed pages of the Caliber 
Board report. Where the latter gave de- 
tailed analysis of artillery items and ex- 
plored doctrine of use, the General Staff 
announcement of tank doctrine lay in the 
single sentence: "The primary mission of 
the tank is to facilitate the uninterrupted 
advance of the riflemen in the attack." On 
this lone commandment hung all the law 
and the prophets. Apart from specifying 
weight limit and speed requirements, the 
General Staff delegated to the Chief of 
Ordnance and the Chief of Infantry all 
responsibility for deciding the principal 
features of tanks. But the 15-ton weight 
limit in itself made a radical change in 

the policy Ordnance and Infantry had 
agreed upon and amounted to scrapping 
the work already accomplished on 20-ton 
tanks. The General Staff statement was 
both belated and restricting. Because of 
the money involved and because final 
authority to approve or reject an experi- 
mental model could not be delegated 
along with initial responsibility for design, 
the lot of the Chief of Ordnance, like the 
policeman's, was not a happy one. His staff 
had to use its best judgment in selecting 
design features; the resulting tanks, built 
at great cost, must satisfy not only the 
using arm but the General Staff. The 
declaration, "The Chief of Ordnance will 
be allowed great latitude in the develop- 
ment of pilot tanks for test purposes," gave 
no specific instructions. Later attempts to 
get the General Staff to amplify this origi- 
nal statement of policy produced various 
enunciations, but some of these served 
chiefly to sharpen the controversies that 
inevitably emerged. A case in point was 
the switch in emphasis from medium to 
light tank development. In the considered 
judgment of the men most familiar with 
problems of tank design, development 
before 1931 suffered immeasurably "for 
lack of a definite and fairly constant 
policy." 69 

It is true that the General Staff had no 
more experience than Infantry or Ord- 
nance officers on which to base a sound 
doctrine of tactical use of tanks. As with 
any major innovation, such as fighter 
planes and bombers, doctrine must be 

,is OCM 7814, 22 Aug 29. This item, containing a 
history of medium tank development up lo August 
1929, was written by William F. Beasley, Ordnance 
Department tank expert. The text of the indorsement 
as quoted above is given on pp. 9093-96. See also 
Beasley's similar Hislorv of Light Tank Development 
in OCM 7786. 1 Aug 29. 

m OCM 7814, 22 Aug 29, pp. 9088, 9103-04. 



worked out by trial and error, and World 
War I had ended before sufficient combat 
data had been accumulated. Furthermore, 
it is important to note that experiments in 
employment of tanks were limited by the 
capabilities of the tanks available at any 
given time for tests or maneuvers. Doctrine 
depended upon what tests proved tanks 
could do, just as development of models 
possessing certain capabilities depended 
on designers' understanding of what was 
needed. Some money and time had to be 
dedicated to exploring and charting blind 
alleys. Unlike modifications of a rifle de- 
sign, changes in tank design cost thousands 
of dollars. The circle was endless: doctrine 
depended on tactical use intended; tactical 
use depended on what tanks were capable 
of; what tanks were capable of depended 
on developing models for predetermined 
use. Had higher authority consistently 
given the Chief of Ordnance the "great 
latitude" mentioned in the communica- 
tion of 1922 and invariably accepted as 
final the decisions that Ordnance and 
using arms jointly reached, progress, engi- 
neers were convinced, would have been 
greatly speeded. 

While producing no new formal state- 
ment of doctrine, in 1927 a terse directive 
from General Charles R Summerall, then 
Chief of Staff: "Organize a Mechanized 
Force," 70 was in time to influence strongly 
the course of development. From the small 
detachment assembled at Fort Eustis, Vir- 
ginia — a detachment consisting of a few 
picked men from the Infantry, from the 
tank units of the Infantry, from the Cav- 
alry, the Artillery, the Engineers, the 
Signal Corps, and the Ordnance Depart- 
ment — there emerged a unit whose ideas 
and experimentation with mechanized 
equipment laid the groundwork for much 
pf the useful work that followed. The 

ability and enthusiasm of these men, in the 
face of the ridicule frequently directed at 
them by officers of the older arms, was 
fortified in 1931 by the succeeding Chief of 
Staff, General MacArthur. "Every part of 
the army," he directed, "will adopt mech- 
anization and motorization as far as prac- 
ticable and possible." 71 This revolutioniz- 
ing order, though really only a repetition 
ofWestervelt Board recommendations, had 
the effect of arousing all parts of the Army 
to interest in mechanization. Furthermore, 
MacArthur's order to the Cavalry to take 
over the mechanized force project and, 
with Fort Knox, Kentucky, as headquar- 
ters, to expand it, opened the way to a 
reappraisal of the doctrine enunciated in 

Ten years after the appearance of the 
first brief policy statement, General Mac- 
Arthur thus summarized General Staff 
views in a report to the Secretary of War: 

Upon this arm [Infantry] has always fallen 
the brunt of the task of dislodging the enemy 
from defensive positions. The ideal machine 
for assistance in this mission must of necessity 
have a high degree of tactical mobility, even 
at the expense of reducing, if necessary, road 
or strategic mobility. Remembering that the 
greatest obstacle to tactical mobility is the 
band of fire laid down by the defense, an 
essential requisite in the assaulting tank is 
sufficient armor to protect against the pre- 
ponderant mass of this fire, namely, that from 
all types of small arms. More than this is 
impractical, at least at present, because every 
increase in armor means a corresponding loss 
in speed and cross-country ability. Suffi- 
ciently heavy armor to protect from field 
guns would completely immobilize any ma- 
chine of usable size. For protection of this 
kind the tank must rely upon rapid move- 

70 Scott Comments for Hist of Combat Vehicles, 

71 Ibid. 



ment, surprise, proper use of ground, and the 
supporting guns of its own army. 72 

While noting that the airplane had by this 
time entered into the field of reconnais- 
sance, MacArthur indicated the new role 
of the Cavalry in mechanized warfare: 

. . . the traditional Cavalry missions of cov- 
ering the advance or retreat of the main 
army, of conducting terrestrial reconnais- 
sance, and of exploiting victory by pursuing 
a disorganized army remain unchanged. 
Cavalry interest in mechanization has there- 
fore been centered principally in armored 
cars and cross-country vehicles possessing a 
high degree of strategic mobility, with fight- 
ing power and tactical mobility an important 
though secondary consideration. 13 

Recognition that Cavalry as well as Infan- 
try had an interest in mechanization 
henceforward gave ordnance designers the 
advantage of the mechanized Cavalry's 
active participation in the experimental 
program but at the same time obliged the 
Ordnance Department to find compro- 
mises to satisfy both using arms. Funds 
were too small to permit development of 
a series of tanks for a variety of purposes. 
Therefore the general solution attempted 
was to develop tanks for the Infantry, 
modify these to adapt them to the Cavalry 
mission, name the Cavalry tanks combat 
cars, and add a line of fast, armored, 
wheeled scout cars for Cavalry reconnais- 

As the 1930's wore on, War Department 
concepts of what were essential require- 
ments for tanks changed somewhat. Ord- 
nance experts for fifteen years had de- 
plored the imperviousness of the General 
Staff to the idea that heavier protective 
armor and, particularly, more powerful 
guns were of even greater importance than 
high speed. The Chief of Staff in 1932 had 
admitted that recent developments in 
armor-piercing ammunition were compli- 

cating tank design and that the new high- 
velocity bullets promised penetration of 
any armor then carried on American 
tanks/ 4 But this admission led to no imme- 
diate revision of tank requirements or 
doctrine. In fact in 1933 the Secretary of 
War announced that it was "absolutely 
essential ... to insure, for any vehicle 
intended for use primarily with the Cav- 
alry or Infantry Division, the production 
of a vehicle to weigh not more than Vh 
tons (preferably less) and to cost substan- 
tially less to manufacture than present 
types." 75 The weight limit was predicated 
upon the supposition that tanks had to be 
transported into battle on trucks. Partial 
conversion to a different view began when 
observers' reports started to pile up evi- 
dence from battlefields of the Spanish Civil 
War. 7fi From this came indisputable proof 
of the vulnerability of light tanks. 77 Two- 
man crews, no space for radio, insufficient 
armor to withstand even .30-caliber 
armor-piercing shot all added up to inef- 

RptofCofS in Ann RptSW, 1932. p. 82. 
" Ibid., p. 83. 
T< Ibid., pp. 83-R5. 

" 12th Ind to ltr, AGO to CofOrd, 29 Apr 33, OO 
451.24/622, cited in OCM 10676, 5 May 33. 
7li OCM 14073, 24 Nov 37. 

77 For example, see Liddell Hart, "Lessons of the 
Spanish War," Army Ordnance, XVIII, 106 (1938), 
201-02; and Emilio Canevari, "Forecasts from the 
War in Spain," Army Ordnance. XVIII. 107 (1938), 

The Italian, Canevari, contended that combat 
trials showed the need of motorizing artillery rather 
than infantry, but an American general drew differ- 
ent conclusions: "The Battle of Firente de E,bro con- 
vinced both sides that independent tank forces are a 
delusion and that the role of the tank is the more 
modest but highly important one of helping the infan- 
try forward." Though, the American declared, the 
light tank had proved to have a few uses, a more 
heavily armed and armored slow-moving vehicle was 
shown to be best for accomplishing the tank's primary 
mission of serving as accompanying mobile artillery 
for infantry. Brig. Gen. Henry J. Reilly, "Proving 
Ground in Spain." Army Ordnance, XIX, 1 14 (1939), 



fectiveness. 78 The General Staff and Infan- 
try belief that protection from small arms 
fire was all that was necessary was further 
shaken by reports that foreign countries 
were building tanks with much heavier 
armor and greater fire power than any the 
U.S. Army had. And finally, tank maneu- 
vers revealed the weaknesses of the Ameri- 
can combat vehicle. 73 As a result of these 
discoveries, speed ceased to be the first 
requirement. 80 Yet official announcement 
of revised doctrine failed to appear. Not 
until the Armored Force was created in 
July 1940 and the wishes of the Infantry 
ceased to dominate and those of the Cav- 
alry prevailed did any basic change occur. 
The thesis proclaimed in a 1939 War De- 
partment field manual largely repeated 
that of the 1923 regulations: tanks were to 
be employed to assist the advance of Infan- 
try foot troops; mechanized Cavalry would 
exploit successes. Tanks were to be GHQ 
reserve. 81 

Progress of the Tank Development 

Within this framework, built of shifting 
and often conflicting ideas of what charac- 
teristics ideal tanks should have, the Ord- 
nance Department's program of research 
and development had to proceed. The 
tank designer of every country is faced with 
the highly technical problem of finding a 
balance between the three essential fea- 
tures of tanks: the guns to provide the fire 
power with which to fight, the armor plate 
to give crews protection and keep the 
vehicle in action, and the chassis and 
power train to give mobility. 82 Powerful 
guns and turret mountings to insure cover- 
age of the field of fire and armor plate 
heavy enough to minimize the destructive 
effects of armor-piercing ammunition im- 

mediately build up the weight the chassis 
must carry. A chassis strong enough to 
carry a heavy superstructure must have 
very powerful engines and a sturdy suspen- 
sion system. Unless the suspension be rea- 
sonably shockproof, a tank cannot long 
withstand the wear and tear of cross- 
country operations, or travel far by road 
without extensive overhaul. Unless engines 
can be designed so extraordinarily com- 
pact as to give the needed power without 
taking up most of the interior of the tank, 
the frame of the chassis must be wide or 
high. A high silhouette makes a relatively 
easy target for enemy fire. A very wide 
vehicle has less road maneuverability than 
a narrow one, may be unable to cross 
bridges, and may seriously impede military 
highway traffic. 

Weight and over-all dimensions thus 
became vital considerations; but power 
plants, armor, and armament were equally 
important for fighting vehicles. The Corps 
of Engineers stressed the first, for theirs 
was the responsibility for bridges and 
roads. The using arms were primarily con- 
cerned with getting easy maneuverability, 
speed and, later, fire power and protective 
armor. The Ordnance Department, whose 
mission encompassed maintenance, re- 
garded engines and suspension systems of 

7S Scott Comments for Hist of Combat Vehicles, 

7! ' (1) Statement of Gen Craig, CofS. to HR Sub- 
committee. 21 Jan 38, WDAB 1939. HR, pp. 12-13. 

(2) Memo. Lt Col John B. Coulter for Exec Off, 
OCO, 14 Aug 37. OO 321.12/4285 Germany, NA. 

(3) Ltr, Coflnf thru CofOrd to TAG, 16 Nov 37, sub: 
Characteristics of Medium Tank T5. OO 451.25/ 
7258. NA. 

s " See Army Ordnance, XIX. 110 (1938), 103. 

M Tentative Field Service Regulations, Operations, 
FM 100-5 (Washington, 1939), Sees. 24-26. 35. 

" 2 See memo, Lt Col Gladeon M. Barnes for Assist- 
ant Commandant Army War College, 1 5 Apr 38, sub: 
Tank Development Program for U.S. Army, Barnes 
file, OHF. 



utmost importance. In all the discussion 
that follows, the reader must bear in mind 
these desiderata which, by their tendency 
to mutual irreconcilability, induced pro- 
longed controversy. 

Furthermore, the degree to which want 
of money hamstrung developments can be 
gauged by a brief comparison of costs and 
appropriations. In 1931 the cost of a single 
Christie tank without armor, engines, guns, 
or radios was $34,500. Seven years later 
the Chief of Ordnance estimated the cost 
of a medium tank at about $50, 000. 83 
While sums allotted to tank development 
before 1925 were relatively large, from 
1925 to 1939 the average was about 
$60,000 a year. That precluded building 
more than one experimental model in any 
one year. But to work out improvements 
without making test models was to relegate 
problems to the realm of abstraction. Com- 
mercial corporations such as General 
Motors had annual research budgets in 
these years running up to $20,000,000. For 
all development projects, not merely auto- 
motive, Ordnance Department funds 
in the mid-thirties averaged about 
$1,680,000. At the end of 1939 the Chief 
of Ordnance begged for $100,000 solely for 
development of diesel engines for tanks. 84 
For nearly fifteen years appropriations 
permitted steady progress, but at a snail's, 
not even a caterpillar's pace. 

The tank had first been used in combat 
by the British in the Somme offensive of 
September 1916. In the next two years the 
United States, collaborating with the Brit- 
ish and French, designed and built several 
types: a 44-ton heavy tank, the Mark 
VIII; a 40-ton steam-propelled tank; and 
a Ford 3-ton and a Renault 6-ton tank. 
Influenced by its experience with these, the 
Army after the Armistice inclined to favor 
development of some heavy and some very 

light tanks. A small tank force, which 
could be rapidly expanded if war came, 
was to be kept as a nucleus for training. 
Yet the first project launched was the de- 
sign of a medium tank, which, it was 
hoped, would constitute an "all-purpose" 
Infantry tank. 85 

Heavy Tanks 

The heavy tank program was short 
lived. In March 1920 Brig. Gen. Samuel D. 
Rockenback of the Tank Corps assured a 
Congressional committee that a few more 
months would see the development of a 
much improved heavy tank, "equal to any 
five of the Mark VIII." 8 " His optimism 
was unfounded. Had the Tank Corps been 
perpetuated, perhaps objections to heavy 
tanks would have been withdrawn. But 
when the National Defense Act named the 
Infantry as the using arm, work on design 
of heavy models was canceled and for the 
next twenty years revival of the project 
received no encouragement from the Gen- 
eral Staff. The reasons were three. First, 
any tank weighing more than twenty-five 
tons was too heavy for the emergency 
bridges already developed by the Corps of 
Engineers unless the bridges were rein- 

83 (1) RobertJ. Icks, "Four Decades of Mechaniza- 
tion," Army Ordnance, XVII, 102 (1937), 340. (2) 
Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 14 Jun 38, sub: Ex- 
penditure Program FY 1939. OO 111.3/6826, N A. 

" 4 (1) ODEP, III, 3-33, OHF. (2) Interv with 
Harold W. Evans. Chief Automotive Engineer, OCO, 
15 Feb 50. (3) Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4. 29 Nov 
38, sub: Estimates for R&D, FY 1941. OO 11 1.3/6906, 
NA. The fiscal records giving the exact breakdown 
of R&D appropriations before 1940 have been 

(1) Record of Arm v Ord R&D, Tanks (hereafter 
cited as R&D, Tanks), 'pp. Aoo, 1A1, 1A200, OHF. 
(2) OCM 7786, 1 Aug 29, p. 9033. (3) Rpt ol'CofS in 
Ann Rpt SW, 1932, p. 83. 

Sli WDAB 1921, HR, p. 519. 



forced, and reinforcement was time con- 
suming. The Engineers, themselves short 
of funds for new development and fearful 
lest increasing weights make bridge con- 
struction a matter of days rather than 
hours, protested against the adoption of 
heavy tanks. The second reason for vetoing 
heavy tanks was the growing conviction 
that smaller tanks had greater tactical use- 
fulness. British thinking was influential 
here; the opinion of the British, whose 
Army first used tanks in battle, was long 
deferred to as authoritative. 87 And, finally, 
the cost of building test models of heavy 
tanks was so much greater than the cost of 
light and medium tanks that it seemed 
wiser to spend the limited available funds 
upon design of types that had prospects of 
meeting the avowed wishes of the using 
arms than to invest money in building pilot 
models with which to demonstrate the 
capabilities of 40-ton types. So, in the face 
of occasional protests from the Ordnance 
Department, heavy tank design was virtu- 
ally abandoned till combat experience in 
World War II forced the Army to revise its 
views. 88 

Light Tanks 

Light tanks, though officially approved 
by the War Department's statement of 
1922, received little attention before 1926. 
The objective set had been a tank of not 
more than five tons, transportable by 
truck. Portee, or transport to the line of 
action, was to avoid needless wear of tracks 
and chassis. The specifications first laid 
down by the Infantry Board are of interest 
because they were so far removed from 
later concepts. They included a cruising 
radius of fifty miles, speed of from two to 
twelve miles an hour across country, armor 
proof against .30-caliber armor-piercing 

bullets, armament of one . 30-caliber ma- 
chine gun and one 37-mm. gun so mounted 
as to be operable by one man, and provi- 
sion for a crew of two. Work along this line 
was never pushed far. By 1926. when the 
Infantry's interest in light tanks began to 
grow, requirements were altered to attain 
speed of twelve to twenty miles an hour, 
weight of not more than six tons, and a gun 
mount in which a .50-caliber and a .30- 
caliber machine gun would be inter- 
changeable/ 5 ' The preference for light, fast 
tanks over heavier ones was nourished, if 
not induced, by study of British ideas both 
as expressed in the writings of Liddell Hart 
and as reported by the Secretary of War 
after a visit to Aldershot in 1927. A 1928 
revision of the Ten-Ycar-Program called 
for 72 light tanks, though originally no 
light tanks had been included, and the 
reduction of the number of medium tanks 
from 64 to 16. Up to 1935 emphasis upon 
speed and maneuverability mounted 
steadily, culminating in instructions to the 
Ordnance Department to design a three- 
ton tank. 90 Impractical though this partic- 
ular project soon proved, the work ex- 
pended on 5-, 6-, and 7-ton models 
between 1926 and 1935 gave engineers 
much useful data on which to proceed 

By 1935 the experimental light tanks, 
T2E1 and T2E2, were given limited pro- 

ST Scott Comments for Hist of Combat Vehicles, 

^ R&D, Tanks, pp. 1A200-203, OHF. See below, 
Chi TTxT andrXl 

""(I) OCM 7786, 1 Aug 29, pp. 9031-34. (2) 
ODEP, III, 4, 22, OHF. 

90 (1) Interv with Gen Scott, 21 Feb 50. (2) Ann 
Rpt CofOrd, 1936, par. 56d(6). 

Ordnance attempts to have the entire project ve- 
toed were overruled by the Deputy Chief of Staff. Sec 
OO 451.24/2109, 451.24/2119, 451.24/2120, and 
451.24/2138 files, DRB AGO, for the correspondence 
on this subject. 



curement status. This designation usually 
meant that full standardization and large 
procurement orders would follow unless 
the items were superseded by something 
better in the interim. These models later 
became the M2A1 and M2A2. Manufac- 
tured at Rock Island Arsenal in 1935, they 
differed from each other chiefly in that the 
M2A1 had a single turret surmounted by 
a cupola and weighed 18,790 pounds, 
while the M2A2 had two round turrets 
and weighed 19,100 pounds. Each was 
armed with one .50-caliber machine gun 
and three .30-caliber machine guns. Maxi- 
mum armor thickness was Vs of an inch. 
The transmission was a sliding gear type. 
Continental W-670 gasoline engines using 
92 octane gasoline gave a maximum speed 
of 45 miles an hour. In the next two years, 
in order to meet the demands of the Cav- 
alry for vehicles with 360 degree turret 
traverse, two models of what were then 
called "combat cars" were turned out. 91 
Most characteristics of these, however, so 
closely paralleled those of Infantry tanks 
that the distinction of name was dropped 
in 1940 and the original combat car Ml 
was redesignated the light tank M1A2, 
combat car M2 the light tank Ml Al. The 
most important feature introduced in the 
original combat car M2 was the Guiberson 
T1020 Series 4 diesel air-cooled radial 
engine as an alternate power plant. With 
the appearance of another light tank 
model in 1938, the Ordnance Department 
began to increase the thickness of protec- 
tive armor and slightly reduce road speed. 
The pilot tank of the next development, the 
M2A4, first manufactured at Rock Island 
in 1939, carried still further the trend 
toward greater weight and more power. 
This model, under production as the Ger- 
man panzers swept into Poland, embodied 
many of the principles continued in later 

tanks. It marked a turning point in light 
tank design. 92 

The M2A4 light tank was designed for 
a crew of four, a driver and assistant driver 
in the hull, a gunner and a commander- 
leader in the single turret. Entrance to the 
vehicle was through armored hatches, 
which were provided with peep-holes for 
vision in combat areas. In noncombat 
zones, the hatches could be opened, per- 
mitting direct vision and better ventilation. 
Armor was of thicknesses up to one inch, 
with heaviest armor on vertical and near 
vertical surfaces, which experience had 
shown were most likely to be hit. The tur- 
ret could be rotated through 360 degrees 
by means of a handwheel-controlled mech- 
anism. Power was supplied by either a 
Continental radial air-cooled aircraft -type 
engine that operated on 80 octane gasoline 
or a Guiberson diesel engine. The trans- 
mission was of the synchromesh type, with 
five forward speeds and one reverse. The 
vehicle was supported by two bogies or 
suspensions on each side, trunnioned on 
the front and rear axles. Each bogie con- 
sisted of two solid-rubber-tired rollers 
which, mounted on volute springs, rode 
the inside of the endless rubber-block 
track. The action of the volute springs and 
articulating bogie links kept track tension 
constant while negotiating obstacles or 
irregular terrain. The most important 
change from earlier models was the addi- 
tion of a 37-mm. gun. Three more .30- 
caliber machine guns were emplaced, one 
in the right bow and one on each sponson. 
Although 27-mm. guns had been used on 
light tanks in World War I, later military 

■" The Infantry, viewing tanks as a means of cover- 
ing the foot soldier's advance, considered forward fire 
sufficient, whereas the Cavalry, envisaging use of a 
tank emplaced at a crossroad, required all-round fire. 
R&D, Tanks, pp. 1A1-1A2, OHK. 



thinking had limited armament to .30- 
caliber and .50-caliber machine guns. This 
opinion was now discarded. The weight, 
just over twelve tons, brought this light 
tank near the weight limit formerly set for 
medium tanks. 91 

Medium Tanks 

Medium tank design had meanwhile 
pre-empted much concentrated effort, 
more than was expended on either heavy 
or light tanks during the 1920's. From 1919 
till the early 1930's, Ordnance engineers 
believed it feasible to achieve a model that 
would combine the essential characteris- 
tics of both the heavy and light tanks used 
in World War I, provided that weight not 
be restricted to fifteen tons. The first two 
postwar models, the medium tanks Ml 921 
and M1922, weighed over twenty tons 
each. While these designs were not com- 
pletely scrapped and revisions of the former 
were carried on for several years, War De- 
partment policy as set forth in the 1922 
indorsement quoted above made a lighter 
model necessary. The fifteen-ton tank, 
Model 1924, was the Ordnance Depart- 
ment's attempt to meet this requirement, 
but any possibility of success was precluded 
by specifications of the Infantry and of the 
Tank Board. The board insisted on armor 
protection against .50-caliber armor- 
piercing bullets, a requirement that meant 
plate an inch thick; provision for a four- 
man crew; one six-pounder and one ma- 
chine gun, independently operable; and a 
speed of twelve miles an hour. 94 The Chief 
of Infantry and the Chief of Ordnance 
both concurred in the protest of the presi- 
dent of the Tank Board, Col. Oliver S. 
Eskridge: ". . . everyone familiar with 
the tank situation knows that an attempt 
to build a satisfactory tank within the 15- 

ton limit is a waste of funds." 95 Reluc- 
tantly, the General Staff in 1926 approved 
shift of emphasis to a 23-ton tank, but 
ordered continued attention to a 13-ton. 
Study of both types was therefore carried 
on for the next nine years. Some of each 
type were designed, built, and tested, but 
none was standardized. 96 

In summarizing the accomplishments of 
tank development work up to 1929, a 
competent Ordnance engineer stressed the 
accumulation of data and experience in 
this field which lacked any technical his- 
tory to draw upon. But William F. Beas- 
ley, in his capacity of automotive man on 
the Ordnance Technical Staff, observed 
that progress had been greatly hampered 
by "making perfection in an experimental 
vehicle the criterion for its standardiza- 
tion" and by "too great a faith on the part 
of the non-technical people . . . that any 
difficulty can be overcome by research 
and development." 97 These comments 
held true for the next decade. Further- 
more, Beasley contended, another source 
of delay in arriving at a basic design dur- 
ing the twenties had been the dispersion 
of effort and money upon development of 
accessories. Compasses, gun mounts, sight- 
ing devices, armor plate of increased re- 
sistance per unit of thickness, all needed 
improvement. And a tank commander 
badly needed some better method of com- 
munication with his crew and with other 
tanks than shin-kicking and waving signal 


i,J OCM 7814, 22 Aug 29. 

s; Ltr, Col Eskridge to Coflnf, 2 Jun 24, sub: 
Medium Tank. OO 451.25/2098, NA. Subsequent 
actions may be traced in the twenty-three indorse- 

9f! (1) 23d Ind, ltr, TAG thru CofOrd to Coflnf, 1 1 
Mar 26, OO 451.25/2098, NA. (2) Ann Rpts CofOrd. 

■'' See Beasley, Hist of Light Tank Development, in 
OCM 7814, 22Aug 29. 



flags. Hindsight, in the opinion of some 
Ordnance engineers, suggested that the 
Department would have been better ad- 
vised to concentrate exclusively upon de- 
velopment of a successful chassis. Officers 
of the using arms, on the other hand, 
firmly believed that more effective tanks 
depended as much upon having depend- 
able accessories as upon a reliable track 
and engine. 98 

Perhaps another impediment to the 
evolution of a satisfactory full-track 
medium tank was expenditure of time 
upon so-called Christie or convertible 
types, designed to operate either on tracks 
or on solid-rubber-tired bogie wheels. A 
wheeled vehicle could of course travel 
over roads at higher speeds without exces- 
sive wear on chassis and tires than could 
a caterpillar-treaded vehicle. The tracks 
could be put on for cross-country maneu- 
vers. Over the advantages and drawbacks 
of Christie tanks controversy raged for 
more than twenty years and, indeed, is oc- 
casionally revived today in discussions of 
Russian tanks that for a time were based 
on Christie patents. 

Engineers agreed that the convertible 
principle was attractive even though "two- 
purpose equipment is in general violation 
of good engineering practice." 5)9 The Tank 
Corps, anxious to try out convertible 
models, in 1919 urged negotiation of a 
contract with Walter Christie who had 
already devoted extensive study to the 
problem. In November 1919 an order for 
one experimental model was placed and 
soon afterward the Ordnance Department 
bought a license to all Christie patents. 
Christie's first product was tested, returned 
for modifications, and in 1923 retested ex- 
haustively. But this, like later models 
Christie built, the Ordnance Department 
felt displayed major weaknesses, primarily 

mechanical unreliability. Notwithstand- 
ing the defects of the succession of con- 
vertible models tested, the using arms per- 
sisted in requesting development of this 
type of tank. Their insistence derived from 
their conviction that it could keep up with 
other motor vehicles better than any other 
kind of tank. Christie's Model 1940, so- 
called because in 1929 its proponents con- 
sidered it "easily ten years ahead of its 
time," in first trials achieved 42.55 miles 
an hour on tracks and 69.23 miles an hour 
on wheels. Though these speeds were ad- 
mittedly possible only under favorable 
conditions of terrain and highway, the offi- 
cials of the American Automobile Associa- 
tion who supervised the test were im- 
pressed. The Infantry was enthusiastic. 
Following a test held before a board of 
high-ranking officers of various arms and 
services, the Ordnance Department was 
instructed to procure six of the tanks. 100 
Still, most Ordnance officers remained 
skeptical, believing that the speed of the 
Christie failed to compensate for its light 
armor, light fire power, inability to make 
long runs without overhaul, and lack of 
room inside for guns, radio, and ammuni- 
tion. In early 1932 the Chief of Ordnance 
reiterated a list of practical objections to 
the convertible type chassis, the tactical 
and strategic value of which had not, he 
believed, been fully demonstrated. But, he 
wrote, in view of opinion prevailing among 
the users, the Ordnance Department must 
pursue the development until it arrived at 

9S (1) Ibid., pp. 9098-9101. (2) Interv with Gen 
Scott, 21 Feb 50. 

99 OCM 7522, 5 Mar 29, p. 8863. 

100 (1) Ibid. (2) C. G. Benson, "The New Christie, 
Model 1940," Army Ordnance. X, 56 (1929), 1 14-1 6^ 
(3) Memo, TAG for CofOrd, 19 Mar 30, sub: Pro- 
curement of Christie Tanks Without Advertising, and 
1st Ind, CofOrd for TAG, 29 May 30, both in AG 
473.1 (3-1-30), OO 451/4229, NA. 



conclusive results, pro or con. 101 So the T3 
and T4 experimental medium tanks built 
in the mid-thirties were both convertible 
types. Not until 1938, when the T5 ap- 
peared, was the convertible principle 
abandoned. 10 - 

Christie himself dropped the converti- 
ble feature from his models after the mid- 
thirties, but other elements of his designs 
continued to attract attention, notably the 
suspension system he employed. Independ- 
ently sprung wheels gave the vehicle good 
riding qualities and increased maneuver- 
ability over rough terrain. But Christie 
always submitted his tanks for trial without 
guns or gun mountings. The tests there- 
fore could not give final proof of the tanks' 
durability. Spectacular performance of test 
models unencumbered with the weight 
that armor plate, turret, and guns must 
add was no proof of what the vehicles 
could withstand when those essentials 
were added. 103 Examination of Christie's 
new "High Speed Model T12," demon- 
strated in 1938, convinced Ordnance 
automotive experts that this tank, like its 
predecessors, lacked the features essential 
in a fighting vehicle. The fighting com- 
partment was much too small, the tank 
accommodated only a driver and one gun- 
ner, the liquid-cooled engine, though 
powerful, was an aircraft type that would 
be difficult to procure, and the tracks were 
of a kind guaranteeing only relatively- 
short life. In short, the disqualifying weak- 
nesses of this light "High-Speed" tank 
were those of earlier Christies. 104 The sus- 
pension system, while having some advan- 
tage, was considered not sufficiently 
sturdy. Instead of adopting the Christie 
suspension, the Ordnance Department re- 
sorted to heavy volute springs as promis- 
ing far greater strength and hence longer 
life. Though rubber torsion suspension 
had been tried out for light vehicles in 

1936, either horizontal or vertical volute 
spring suspension was used in every Amer- 
ican tank built after 1 938 until in 1 942 
torsion bar suspension was developed to a 
point where it could be used for combat 
vehicles. 105 Unfortunately, the faith in 
Christie's suspension system, which was 
cherished by some politicians, newspaper 
reporters, and officers of the using arms 
who were not in a position to recognize the 
defects in the design, gave rise to the no- 
tion that the Ordnance Department to 
save face was stubbornly refusing to accept 
a superior tank simply because it was the 
work of an independent designer. Mis- 
taken identification of Christie's independ- 
ently sprung wheels with torsion bar sus- 
pension persisted long after the war and 
accounts for much of the criticism of the 
Ordnance Department's rejection of 
Christie's design. 108 

The year 1938, which saw the appear- 
ance of Christie's new "High-Speed" light 
tank, also brought forth the T5 models of 
medium tanks. The most prophetic devel- 

101 Ltr, CofOrd to CG Rock Island Arsenal, 8 Jan 
32, sub: Studies for Combat Car T3. OO 451.24/514, 

!0 - (1) Inf Bd Rpt 917, Medium Tank T4, 18 Feb 
3 7, OO 4 51.25/6622, NA. (2) Ur, CofOrd to CG 
Rock Island Arsenal, 20 Sep 37, sub: Medium Tank. 
T5, OO 451/8724, NA. 

Interv with Gen Christmas, 8 Nov 49. 
" H ( 1 ) Rpt of Inspection of Christie Tank at Hemp- 
stead. L. I., 6 Oct 38, OO 451.25/8209, NA. (2) 
Memo, Col Barnes for Gen McFarland, 16 Mar 39, 
sub: Conference on Christie Tank, OO 451.25/8674, 

For more detailed description see: lcr, CG APG to 
CofOrd, 5 May 41, sub: Test of Biglev Tank (Christie 
Tank Model 1938). OO 451.25/5295, DRB AGO; 
and OCM 19608, 2R Jan 43. 

Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1936, par. 56a. The Ameri- 
can patent. No. 2024199, on torsion bar suspension 
was granted to Gladeon M. Barnes and Warren E. 
Preston in December 1935. French patents were of 
earlier date. 

106 For example, in Christie's vehicles the wheels 
tended to jump the tracks on a turn unless a highly 
skilled driver were at the controls. With torsion bar 
suspension this was virtually impossible. 


MEDIUM TANK T3, one of the Christie tanks. 

opment in these was the experimental 
mounting of a 75-mm. pack howitzer in 
the turret of one model. A few Cavalry 
and Ordnance officers had indeed advo- 
cated this as early as 1935. Now it was a 
clear recognition of trends in European 
design. In 1937 German experts, after vis- 
iting Fort Knox, are reported to have stated 
that the United States led the world both 
in tank design and in organization of 
mechanized units. If that was truth, not 
flattery, the lead was lost in 1938. In spite 
of a report from Berlin describing the Ger- 
man experimental mounting of an 88-mm, 
gun in a tank, the Chief of Infantry de- 
clared so powerful a weapon as a 75-mm. 
needless. 107 As a result of this judgment, 
the pilots of the M2 and M2A1 medium 
tanks, built the next year, were each armed 
only with a 37-mm. gun, eight ,30-caliber 
machine guns, and a .45-caliber subma- 

chine gun. Meanwhile, the mechanized 
Cavalry was clamoring for a self-propelled 
cannon to neutralize enemy antitank guns. 
Only when the War Department conceded 
that a 75-mm. howitzer mounted on a 
combat car chassis was virtually a tank 
was a new decision reached; approval of 
designing a tank equipped with a 75-mm. 
howitzer came at last in July 1940. The 
Armored Force, headed by a Cavalry of- 
ficer. Brig. Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, was es- 
tablished that month. 108 

It is worth repeating that between 1919 
and 1938 none of the tanks developed was 

107 (1) Scott Comments for Hist of Combat Vehicles, 
OHF. (2) Interv, 19 Jan 50, with Col Rene R. Stud- 

>" s (1) R&D, Tanks, 1A41-43, OHF. (2) Interv 
with Gen Christmas, 8 Nov 49. (3) Proceedings of a 
Board of Officers . . . Hq Seventh Cavalry Brigade, 
2 7 Jul 38, and Inds 1 to 9 to ltr of transmittal, Fort 
Knox, K.V., to CofCav, 25 Sep 38, OO 472/3496, NA. 



standardized. 109 The T5 was the first to be 
approved. Accepted in June 1939, it was 
designated the medium tank M2. The 
medium tanks T4 and T4E1 were shortly 
thereafter designated Medium Tank Ml, 
Convertible, Limited Standard, though the 
eighteen manufactured and used at Fort 
Benning were declared obsolete in March 
1940. The caution that characterized the 
Army expenditure programs during the 
twenty years between world wars doubt- 
less accounts for the refusal to standardize 
any tanks, no matter how promising. But 
Ordnance automotive designers felt that 
this retarded tank development. They de- 
plored the policy on the grounds that use 
by troops in training and on maneuvers 
revealed weaknesses susceptible of im- 
provement in a fashion that proving 
ground and formal service tests could not 
do. The perfectionism complained of in 
1929 still obtained in 1938. This view the 
Infantry and Cavalry did not share; they 
considered it the Ordnance Department's 
job to get "the bugs out of a design" before 
shipping a model to troops in the field. 110 
Opportunity to try experimental models 
on maneuvers did exist, to be sure, after 
the first units of a mechanized Cavalry 
brigade were organized in 1931. The 
mechanized force, assembled at Fort 
Meade in the summer of 1928 in response 
to General Summerall's famous four word 
directive, had paved the way by trying out 
tactical employment of the tanks then on 
hand, and in the fall of 1930 that force's 
successor, a group at Fort Eustis, Virginia, 
carried on. When some months later the 
unit was transferred to Fort Knox. Ken- 
tucky, to form the nucleus of the first 
mechanized Cavalry, collaboration of de- 
signers and users of combat vehicles was 
assured. Still, the projected regiment of 
mechanized Cavalry did not materialize; 
funds were insufficient to equip it. As late 

as mid-1939 the tank forces consisted of 
only one mechanized Cavalry brigade of 
half strength, the small, partially equipped 
tank companies with Infantry divisions, 
and the GHQ units of 1,400 men. 1 " The 
small scale of operations possible with the 
few tanks available for field trial during 
the 1930's gave indication rather than con- 
clusive proof of what American experi- 
mental models were capable and, still more 
important, of what they were incapable. 
Officers of the mechanized Cavalry 
averred that evolution of tactical doctrine 
was not affected by delays in delivery of 
equipment, that fundamentally principles 
of tactical use of horse Cavalry applied to 
an armored brigade. But the Ordnance 
Department continued to believe that the 
want of enough tanks, armored cars, and 
auxiliary motor vehicles to conduct exten- 
sive maneuvers left automotive engineers 
with only sketchy evidence on which to 
base attempts at improved design. Only 
19 light tanks were completed in 1936, 154 
in 1937, and 74 in 1938. Medium tanks 
finished were fewer. 112 

One handicap in the development of all 
types of combat vehicles during the 
twenty years of peace calls for special 
mention. This was the lack of suitable en- 
gines. The Ordnance Department itself 
never had money enough to develop an 
ideal tank engine and, as private industry 

1011 In 1928 standardization of the medium tank Tl 
as the Ml was canceled by the War Department. 
See: (1) OCM 6723, 24 Jan 28; 6772, 9 Feb 28; 6925, 
12 Apr 28; and (2) Hist of Aberdeen Proving Ground, 
Vol. I, OHF. 

110 Interv with Gen Scott, 21 Feb 50. 

111 (1) Ann Rpt SW, 1930, p. 125. (2) Ann Rpt 
CofOrd, 1932, par. 23s. (3) Watson, Chief of Staff: 
Prewar Plans, and Preparations , p. 148. (4-) Ltr, CofOrd 
to CG Rock Island Arsenal, 20 Nov 37, sub: Esti- 
mated Deliveries of Tanks and Combat Cars, OO 
+51/8840, NA. 

M - (1) interv with Gen Scott. 21 Feb 50. (2) Ann 
Rpt CofOrd. 1936, pars. 16a, 56a, 56d; 1 937, par. 
19a; 1938, par. 23a. 



had no need for an engine designed to 
meet the peculiar requirements of tank 
power plants, there was no commercial 
development. The lack of power obtain- 
able with the slow-speed marine engines 
used first and in the later adaptations of 
aircraft engines affected all other features 
of design. It lent color to arguments favor- 
ing development only of light tanks. Be- 
cause liquid-cooled engines were thought 
to be more vulnerable than air-cooled, the 
automotive engineers centered attention 
upon air-cooled types. To the success with 
these before 1938, the Chief of Ordnance, 
with a touch of complacency, attributed 
"the superiority of our equipment over 
that of foreign armies." 113 In 1936 Guiber- 
son air-cooled diesels were first tried. But 
when the later 1930's brought aircraft 
needs to the fore, the Air Corps protested 
Ordnance pre-emption of aircraft engines 
for tanks just as the Navy later reserved 
diesels for Navy use. The Ordnance De- 
partment was therefore obliged belatedly 
to find some other solution of its problem. 
The compromises arrived at, as the devel- 
opment story of World War II will show, 
gave far from ideal answers. 11 1 

Auxiliary Vehicles 

Apart from the achievements on tanks 
and combat cars, fulfillment of the Caliber 
Board's hopes for motorization of the U.S. 
Army fell far short of the goal. Complete 
motorization would have meant self-pro- 
pelled mounts for every weapon the foot 
soldier could not carry and motor trans- 
port for men and supplies as well. About 
motorization of supply trucks and person- 
nel carriers there was little argument; 
these vehicles by the terms of the 1920 
National Defense Act were a responsibil- 
ity of the- Quartermaster Corps. The mo- 
torization of artillery, on the other hand, 

early came to be a controversial matter. 
In the years immediately following the ap- 
pearance of the Caliber Board report, the 
Ordnance Department undertook a series 
of development projects on self-propelled 
gun mounts, but in each case work was 
halted by lack of money, lack of interest 
on the part of the Field Artillery, or both. 
As late as 1938, between 40 and 60 per- 
cent of the Army's artillery was still horse 
drawn. A good many artillerymen con- 
tended that horse draft was more satisfac- 
tory than machine; horses neither ran out 
of gasoline nor required repairs and spare 
parts. If the Field Artillery did not want 
self-propelled guns, the Ordnance De- 
partment could not foist them upon the 
user, even had the Ordnance Department 
had funds to develop them. Only the in- 
sistence of the mechanized Cavalry 
enabled the Ordnance Department in 
1938 to resume work on gun motor car- 
riages. Yet when, after war broke out in 
Europe and Army appropriations in- 
creased, the Ordnance Department again 
recommended development of a motor 
carriage for the 105-mm. howitzer, the 
Chief of Field Artillery remained adamant 
in his refusal. Towing, Brig. Gen. Charles 
H. Danforth decreed, was better. Thus 
one very important feature of the Wester- 
velt program lapsed. 111 

Towing by tractor was relatively ac- 
ceptable to the Field Artillery. Horses 
could always be substituted. So the devel- 

,,;t Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1938, par. 64a(l). 

114 (1) Samuel H. Woods, Chief Engr Auto Div, 
Ord Research Center, APG, The Development of 
Combat Vehicles, Oct 43, p. 4, OHF. (2) Interv with 
Gen Christmas, 8 Nov 49. 

,lr ' (1) Interv with Col Burnett R. Olmsted, 25 Oct 
49. (2) ODEP, I, pp. 68-228, OHF. (3) 2d Ind, ltr. 
CofFA to CofCav, 17 Dec 38, 3d Ind. CofCav to 
CofFA, 5 Jan 39, and 7th Ind, TAG to CofOrd, 12 
Apr 39, to ltr. Maj Bertrand Morrow to CofCav, 25 
Sep 38, sub: Letter of Transmittal, OO 472/3496, 



opment of a series of tractors and half- 
tracks had to be the Ordnance Depart- 
ment's answer to mobility for artillery. 
Though the Ordnance Department before 
1933 had procured and tested trucks for 
towing artillery, thereafter, by War De- 
partment order, procurement of trucks, as 
part of motor transport, was turned over 
to the Quartermaster Corps. The Ord- 
nance Department was left in charge of all 
tracked and half-tracked vehicles, with 
very few exceptions, for all branches of the 
Army. 11 " This division of responsibility for 
vehicles was maintained till 1942. Tracked 
vehicles were preponderantly of commer- 
cial design; the Ordnance Department 
tested various models and devised the 
modifications that military use required. 
The Air Corps used some tractors and the 
Corps of Engineers a number for construc- 
tion work, but otherwise most tractors 
were for use as prime movers of artillery. 
Between 1932 and 1940 the Ordnance De- 
partment tested some twenty-three differ- 
ent commercial tractors requested by the 
Field Artillery. 117 

Half-tracks similarly were developed by 
the collaborating efforts of Ordnance en- 
gineers and automotive engineers in pri- 
vate industry. This type of hybrid vehicle, 
originating in France, was a small truck or 
passenger car on which a half-track as- 
sembly was substituted for the conven- 
tional rear axle and wheel assembly. The 
design aimed at combining the cross- 
country mobility of the tracked vehicle 
with the highway speed of the wheeled. It 
was considered especially adapted to use 
as a personnel carrier or as a prime mover 
for divisional artillery. Some fourteen half- 
track truck models, a half-track car, and a 
half-track personnel carrier were tested 
before 1940, though it was not until 1939 
that the armed services took any pro- 

nounced interest in half-tracks. In that 
year their possibilities for various combat 
operations apparently emerged. Accord- 
ingly, the Artillery Division of Industrial 
Service prepared drawings for a half-track 
scout car, later labeled the T14, and a 
pilot model was built in 1941. From engi- 
neering studies of this derived the three 
basic models from which stemmed the 
whole family of half-tracks used in World 
War II. 118 

Influence of Budgetary Restrictions 

Ordnance research and development 
problems between world wars may be fur- 
ther clarified by an analysis of what the 
Department planned and what it accom- 
plished in a given year. The fiscal year 
1937 is fairly typical of the period immedi- 
ately preceding the formal launching of 
the National Defense program. Appropri- 
ations for research and development for 

1937 were set at $1,350,000, $90,000 more 
than for 1936 and $10,000 less than for 

1938 and 1939. 1UJ While the War Depart- 
ment as a whole sought $9,000,000 for 
1937, the Bureau of the Budget cut the fig- 
ure to $7,160,400. Approved Ordnance 
projects numbered 224 and were classified 
into 21 groups. Seventeen projects, most of 
them in the artillery ammunition group, 
still were based on Westervelt Board rec- 

116 (1) Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1933, par. 18. (2) Interv 
with Col Van Deusen. 25 Nov 49. 

117 (1) Hist of Tractors, Detroit Arsenal, OHF. (2) 
Ann Rpt CofOrd, 1934, par. 53; 1935, pars. 56-57; 
1936, par. 56: 1937. pars. 60, 61; 1938, pars. 68-69. 
(3) OCM 13498. 4 Mar 37; 13888, 2 Sep 37. 

1,fl (1) Hist of U.S. Half Track Vehicles, OHF. (2) 
Ann Rpts CofOrd. 1934-38, as cited n. 117(2). 

""In several years larger sums were actually 
spent for research and development because transfer 
of money earmarked for other purposes was author- 
ised. For example, see memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 6 
Apr 39. sub: WD Research and Development Pro- 
gram, FY 1941. G-4/29552, DRB AGO. 



ommendations. With cost of material es- 
timated at about $300,000, 70 percent of 
the money was marked for salaries. Dis- 
tribution of money among the twenty-one 
groups was as follows: $249,900 for artil- 
lery ammunition, including antimechani- 
zation weapons; $111,810 for procure- 
ment of artillery ammunition for service 
test; $101,300 for development of mobile 
artillery; $76,620 for ballistics research; 
$67,774 for small arms; $65,000 for rail- 
way artillery; $64,000 for artillery fire 
control; $60,120 for tanks; and smaller 
amounts for the remaining thirteen groups. 
Even for individual projects of major im- 
portance, the sums allotted had to be 
small: $2,500 for the light mortar, $800 for 
the 81-mm. mortar. The $60,000 for tanks 
w r as spent largely on the medium tank T5. 
Most of the 224 projects had been on the 
books for several years before 1937, some 
for over a decade. On twenty-one there 
had been no progress at all; on thirty-four 
work was only 1 to 10 percent com- 
pleted. 120 

The question naturally arises as to why 
the research funds were spread so thin to 
cover so many items when the urgency of 
some undertakings would appear wholly 
to obliterate the importance of others. The 
answer lies in the fact that the Ordnance 
Department had to serve all branches of 
the Army. The Infantry would not acqui- 
esce in devoting all appropriations to ar- 
tillery development, nor w r ould the Cav- 
alry agree to a program disregarding its 
needs for armored cars to permit improve- 
ment of small arms. Each service had to 
get a share. The Ordnance Technical 
Committee mapped out the tentative dis- 
tribution of research monies, the General 
Staff decided. In 1937 the apportionment 
of projects showed Field Artillery holding 
first place with 68 of the 224. Forty proj- 

ects were for the Infantry, 35 each for the 
Coast Artillery and the Air Corps, 21 for 
the Cavalry, a scattered few for the Engi- 
neers and Chemical Warfare, and the rest 
for "all Arms and Services." 121 

The War Department as a whole appre- 
ciated the wisdom of devoting a large 
slice of its available funds in peace years 
to research and development. For Ord- 
nance development work alone, the War 
Department survey of 1929 had recom- 
mended an annual budget of not less than 
$3,000,000. But when total appropriations 
were small, the operating needs of the 
standing army and the cost of maintain- 
ing equipment already in existence tended 
year after year to eat up the lion's share of 
appropriations. Thus for preservation of 
ammunition larger sums were allotted in 
the early thirties than for research proj- 
ects. 122 Tabulation of the relatively stable 
appropriations for research and develop- 
ment shows how the percentage of the 
total Ordnance appropriation shrank after 
1934, though after 1937, by transfer of 
funds, more than the original allotment 
was actually spent. 

As 1939 approached, the General Staff 
deliberately chose to reduce the research 
budget in the interests of having more 
money for actual rearmament. 123 But the 
Chief of Ordnance believed that a large 
increase for ordnance research and devel- 
opment was of vital importance. His con- 
tention was strongly supported by the 
Chief of Field Artillery, the Chief of Coast 
Artillery, the Chief of Cavalry, and the 
Chief of Infantry, who all concurred that 

l - n 1st Ind, incl to Itr, CofOrd to TAG, 10 Oct 36, 
OO 1 1 1.3/6186, NA. 

1=2 (1) Survey of WD, 1929, p. 1 6. NA. (2) Ann Rpt 
CofOrd, 1934, par. 12b. See ahove JCh. Ill, pp. 64-651 

is-! Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Prepara- 
tions, pp. 42-44. 



Table 11 — Ordnance Department Total Appropriations and Appropriations for 
Research and Development: Fiscal Years 1921^0 

Fiscal Year 



Research & 

Percent R&D of 

Actual expenditures 
Research & 

1921 ... . _ _ _. . _ _ 

$22, 880, 186 

£71 r AA 

31, 120, 500 



1922 - - 

1 *? J-lf A/A 

13, 425, 960 

2, Cb8, 225 

15. 3 

( Q ) 


6, 859, 030 

1, 400, 197 




5, 812, 180 

1, 223,900 

21. 1 

( tt ) 


7, 751, 272 




1926_ _ _ ... . __ _ . __ . 

7, 543, 802 

1,013, 500 

13. 4 


1927... . __ ... 

9, 549, 827 

989, 500 

10. 4 


1928_ . . _. ... . _ 

12, 179, 856 

1, 405, 000 

11. 5 


1929 . ... . . . . .... 

12, 549, 877 

1, 369, 300 

10. 9 



11,858, 981 

2,711, 500 




12, 422, 466 

1, 137, 148 









11,588, 737 

1, 291, 764 

11. 1 



7, 048, 455 

1,255, 837 




11,049, 829 

1, 266, 500 


31, 268, 546 


17, 110, 301 



1, 237, 745 







24, 949, 075 

1, 360,000 


1, 661, 444 







176, 546, 788 



1,941, 338 

fl Data not available. 

Source: Stat Br, OUSW, Weekly Stat Rpt Summary 3, 19 Jul 41, P- 9. DRB AGO; and interview with James A. Brown, R&D Serv, 
31 Mar 53. 

the insufficient funds allotted Ordnance 
for its development program over the pre- 
ceding five years had resulted in disas- 
trous delays. For example, the $276,400 
marked for all 1940 mobile artillery devel- 
opment, the Chief of Coast Artillery as- 
serted, would not even meet the cost of 
work on one item, the intermediate-cali- 
ber antiaircraft gun. 124 

General Tschappat's summary of the 
situation in January 1938 was grimly fac- 
tual: the Ordnance backlog of untouched 
artillery and automotive development 

projects totalled $10,000,000, of small 
arms projects $1,000,000. For ammunition 
alone, a budget of $1 ,500,000 a year for 
several years was imperative inasmuch as 
new methods and new materiel being de- 
veloped in a rearming world would add to 
costs. Research, as distinguished from de- 

124 (1) Memo, CofFA for ACofS G-4, 10 Jan 38, 
G-4/29552, P&E, R&D Program, 1938. (2) Memo, 
CofCav for CofOrd. 8 Jan 38, OO 1 1 1.3/6589. (3) 
Memo, Coflnf for CofOrd. 7 Jan 38, sub: R&D Pro- 
gram, FY 1940, OO 1 1 1.3/6588. (4) Ltr, CofCA 
thru CofOrd to TAG, 8 Jan 38, sub: R&D Program, 
FY 1940, OO 1 1 1.3/6590. All in NA. 



velopment work, had been equally 
crippled for want of money. The Depart- 
ment had been unable either consistently 
to apply engineering principles worked 
out by industry in the decade past or to 
utilize techniques perfected in Ordnance 
laboratories. A doubling of research activ- 
ity was essential for the future. In the 
absence of qualified ordnance experts in 
private industry, the Department had to 
recruit and train its own designers and en- 
gineers, a costly business. Purchase of de- 
signs from abroad, even if desirable, had 
been prohibitively expensive: the price re- 
cently quoted for rights to a foreign 37- 
mm. antiaircraft gun had approximately 
equaled the Ordnance Department's 
total annual research and development 
budget. General Tschappat considered 
$2,500,000 for research and development 
in 1940 an absolute minimum. 1 " 5 Con- 
gress appropriated $1,650,000 for this 

Perhaps the refusal of the Bureau of the 
Budget to allot larger sums to Ordnance 
research and development and the reluc- 
tance of the Congress to vote as much as 
the budget called for can be partly ex- 
plained by the tenor of the annual reports 
of the Ordnance Department in the years 
preceding 1940. Neither in hearings before 
Congressional committees nor in annual 
reports to the Secretary of War did Chiefs 
of Ordnance betray anxiety. Instead of 
telling the Congressional committees on 
military affairs that American ordnance, 
thanks to lack of money, consisted largely 
of the obsolete equipment of World War I, 
Chiefs of Ordnance year after year either 
avoided making any appraisal or else an- 
nounced that in quality particular items of 
American ordnance were as good as or bet- 
ter than those of any army in the world. All 
officers appearing before Congressional 

committees were expected to confine 
themselves to answering specific questions, 
and not to volunteer information or 
opinion. The result was that year after 
year congressmen, trusting to the testi- 
mony their questions elicited from the ex- 
perts, could believe that the United States 
Army, though small, was equipped with 
the very best. Similarly, the formal reports 
from the Chief of Ordnance to the Secre- 
tary of War sounded confident; they pre- 
sented summaries of what had been done 
but rarely mentioned what was left un- 
done. Because the published annual re- 
port of the Secretary of War, which in- 
cluded the summary statements of chiefs 
of arms and services, circulated widely, 
discretion apparently seemed the better 
part of valor. This explanation gains 
weight from evidence in the correspond- 
ence between the Ordnance Department 
and the General Staff. There, occasionally, 
the Chief of Ordnance warned of the true 
situation. It was General Tschappat's let- 
ter to The Adjutant General that bluntly 
described the lag in Ordnance develop- 
ment work up to 1938. Some months 
later General Wesson reported to the 
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, that the 
Ordnance Department had not been able 
to keep abreast of recent developments 
abroad. Yet in the spring of 1941 General 
Wesson told a House committee that 
American weapons were as good as "and 
in many instances superior to those of any 
other army in the world." 12B In the face of 
statements in like vein repeated at inter- 
vals during the preceding years, Congress 
could scarcely be expected to vote large 

1 Ltr, Cot'Ord lo TAG, S Jan 38, OO 1 1 1.3/6554. 

(1) Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 29 Nov 38. 
sub: Estimates for R&D for FY 1941 . OO 1 1 1.3/6906. 
NA. (2) WDAB 1942, HR, p. 537. 



sums of money to meet an exigency that 
members had little reason to think existed. 
Here was a situation not limited to the 
Ordnance Department in dealing with 
Congress, but representing the twenty- 
year-long struggle of the whole War De- 
partment versus the holders of the purse 
strings and lagging public opinion. 

The Role of Technical Intelligence 

As war is competitive and military 
equipment satisfactory only if it is as good 
as or better than that of potential enemies, 
knowledge of what ordnance other nations 
were developing was at all times of great 
importance to the United States Army. In 
appraising the value of technical intelli- 
gence reports three questions arise. Was 
adequate information available? If so, was 
it studied? How fully and how promptly 
was it applied? These questions have im- 
mediate bearing on the status of Ordnance 
research and development before 1940. 

The formal channel for technical intel- 
ligence was through the Military Intelli- 
gence Division of the General Staff. Ob- 
servers abroad dispatched their reports to 
the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, who then 
relayed the reports to the arm or service 
concerned. Though occasionally, particu- 
larly during the 1920's, the Ordnance De- 
partment sent an officer to Europe on a 
special mission, and during the Spanish 
Civil War the War Department stationed 
men on the scene, the usual procedure was 
to rely upon information forwarded by of- 
ficers, specifically detailed as observers. 
Ordnance officers with engineering back- 
ground were ideally the men to serve in 
this capacity and to prepare the technical 
reports on foreign ordnance. 1 " 7 But the 
number of Ordnance officers qualified by 
experience who also had the necessary 

command of a foreign language and who 
had private incomes large enough to meet 
the expenses of a tour of duty abroad was 
small; 1 - 8 in fact, between 1920 and 1940 
there were only nine, and between No- 
vember 1930 and May 1940 only two — 
Maj. Philip R. Faymonville in Moscow, 
and Capt. Rene R. Studler assigned to 
London. Thus General Williams' original 
plan of frequently replacing Ordnance of- 
ficers abroad fell down and with it the op- 
portunity for them to report upon their 
findings in person, rather than in writing. 
In countries to which the Ordnance De- 
partment could not supply a liaison officer 
and during the early thirties when no 
Ordnance officer was assigned to foreign 
service anywhere, officers of other 
branches of the Army transmitted infor- 
mation. Particularly important were Maj. 
Truman Smith's reports from Berlin. 

Over the years a very considerable body 
of written data on foreign materiel accu- 
mulated in Washington. The long tours of 
duty of both Major Faymonville and Cap- 
tain Studler, the former from July 1934 to 
February 1939, the latter from July 1936 
to October 1940, gave the Ordnance De- 
partment the benefit of uninterrupted 
series of letters during a specially critical 
period. The reports from the Soviet Union 
were general in character, but those from 
western Europe were of a character to 
command close attention, for the great 
munitions makers were located in Ger- 
many, France, England, Czechoslovakia, 
Switzerland, and Sweden. Though Cap- 
tain Studler was formally assigned to Lon- 
don, his mission was a roving one and 

137 ODO 8, 31 May 17: 104, 4Jan 18: 222, 25 May 
18; 297, 10 Aug 18, OHF. 

1 - s The annual cost of a tour of duty in London in 
the 1930's Colonel Studler estimated to have been 
about $10,000 in excess of Army pay. 



included observation of developments in 
much of western Europe. The number, the 
details, and the timing of his studies made 
them peculiarly significant.'"' 1 A list of the 
subjects he covered in his 300-odd reports 
reveals the scope of his work. 13 " 

Sometimes the information in reports 
was perforce sketchy, consisting of photo- 
graphs, rather general descriptions, or 
even merely guesses based on inference. 
Sometimes, particularly before the war be- 
gan, the data were detailed, though in the 
absence of precisely dimensioned drawings 
Ordnance designers could consider the in- 
formation suggestive rather than explicit. 
Technical intelligence reports could supply 
facts on the observed performance of a 
piece of equipment and could list general 
characteristics; more exact details were 
very difficult to obtain. Ordinarily, the 
War Department could get engineering 
details only by purchase from a European 
munitions maker or by an exchange of 
information with a foreign government. In 
any attempted exchange, American offi- 
cers again and again deplored the weak- 
ness of their positions. American military 
journals, technical magazines, and news- 
papers so frequently spread across their 
pages the essential information of a new 
American development that liaison officers 
found themselves with nothing to offer and 
came away empty handed. Yet occasion- 
ally they apparently believed it possible to 
locate supplemental data, for Ordnance 
officers serving as military observers com- 
plained of being kept in ignorance of what 
further information the Ordnance Depart- 
ment might want. Their reports elicited no 
response, unless personal correspondents 
supplied it, and the officers abroad were 
left unguided. If, as an Ordnance general 
later averred, the Department followed 
their work closely and was balked of action 

only by the indifference of the using arms 
and by want of money, 1 " the observers 
assembling the information never knew 
how it was received at home. Real or seem- 
ing lack of interest in the Ordnance office 
in Washington tended to discourage the 
search for additional data. Reports were 
primarily valuable for the clues they gave. 
They indicated the lines of development to 
pursue rather than how to pursue them. 

How carefully men in the War Depart- 
ment studied technical intelligence reports 
naturally depended in some measure on 
who saw them. Within the Ordnance De- 
partment distribution was orderly. When 
a report landed in the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, from G-2 — where it might 
have been kept for as long as four or five 
months — it went first to such members of 
the Technical Staff as were concerned with 
the subject and then passed on to the 
Manufacturing Division engineer in 
charge of the particular item discussed in 
the report. If the report dealt with tanks, it 
went to the chief of the Artillery and Auto- 
motive Division of the Technical Staff and 
on to the engineer in charge of automotive 
design; if with antiaircraft, from the Tech- 
nical Staff to the engineers responsible for 
that type of artillery and to the man in 

'-" Of Studler's work Col. Raymond E. Lee, in 
1940. wrote : 

There are few. if any, other ordnance officers alive 
who have had such opportunities for first hand study 
and comparison of modern weapon development and 
use as Major Studler has enjoyed. 

For this reason, I recommend that his opinions be 
given prompt and serious consideration by those au- 
thorities who are now making decisions of great mag- 
nitude and long range importance to the future of the 
U.S. Army. 

Rpt from London, 31 Jul 40, sub: Mobilization of In- 
dustry. IG 6620 : 2724-A-38-12, DRB AGO. 

1 " See correspondence files of reports from London, 
Berlin, and Paris. 1936-40, OO 321.12/289, and 
Incls 1-3 of same file. DRB AGO. 

1 ;l Comments attached to ltr, Gen Barnes to Maj 
Gen Orlando Ward, 2 5 Jan 52, OCMII. 



charge of artillery ammunition. Thence 
the original report or a copy would usually 
go to an arsenal or to Aberdeen Proving 
Ground, or to both. The routing was de- 
signed to give the persons best able to use 
the information full opportunity to study 
it. The names of the men who received 
various reports are often still attached to 
the original folders. Engineers and de- 
signers for each category of ordnance saw 
the reports that touched their special fields. 
Presumably each man in turn could truth- 
fully say "Contents noted." Furthermore, 
from 1920 on an accession list, compiled 
monthly, was distributed to division heads, 
so that anyone with a legitimate interest 
in the information could readily know of 
any new material that had come in. Many 
reports were circulated and recirculated 
several times. They all ended in the files of 
the Ordnance library. 

What use the information derived from 
military reports was put to is harder to 
perceive. Reading, even studying, a docu- 
ment is not synonymous with grasping its 
full import, and understanding its signifi- 
cance is still different from acting upon it. 
Hints of European experiments or news of 
achievements abroad may frequently have 
caused uneasiness or curiosity among Ord- 
nance engineers, but as long as the De- 
partment had no money to exploit a 
discovery, they could reason that further 
investigation was futile. The optimism, the 
intellectual vigor, the whole temperament 
of the individual in charge of developing 
each field of ordnance might determine 
whether the Department pursued or 
ignored a line of research. An underling's 
ideas could be quashed by the indifference 
of his superior. How deep an impression 
particular technical intelligence reports 
may have made must be largely a matter 
of speculation. The paternity of ideas is 

nearly always difficult to fix. Though few 
ordnance development projects before 
1940 can be traced directly to military 
observers' reports from abroad, some re- 
ports may have exerted pronounced in- 
fluence. A few specific examples may illus- 
trate the workings of the technical 
intelligence system. In August 1937 Cap- 
tain Studler reported at some length on 
the new German 47-mm. and 50-mm. 
antitank guns he had seen: 

The 47mm anti-tank gun is considered of 
interest as representing a tendency to which 
reference has been made in earlier reports. 
. . . The undersigned [has] expressed the 
opinion that replacement of the German 
Army 37mm anti-tank gun by one of a larger 
caliber, probably 47mm or 50mm could be 

It will be noted that the initial striking 
energy of the 47mm is approximately 36% 
greater than the corresponding energy of the 
37mm. with an increase of approximately 
15% of total weight of gun and carriage. It is 
recognized that conclusions of value cannot 
be drawn without complete data as to com- 
parable external ballistics and actual impact 

It is of supplemental interest to note that a 
barrel of a caliber of approximately 50mm 
and not less than 50 calibers long was seen by 
the undersigned in a Krupp gun shop at 
Essen, Germany, on June 23, 1937. Krupp 
engineers at first denied that such a barrel 
was in existence and later stated that it was 
prepared for an experimental model of anti- 
tank gun. The same engineers indicated that 
the 37mm gun was considered inadequate by 
German military personnel. 

On the following page of this report there 
appears a tabulated statement of compara- 
tive characteristics of the various anti-tank 
cannon seen by the undersigned in the course 
of the past 12 months. Weapons of a caliber 
less than 25mm have been excluded from the 
tabulation. The smaller caliber anti-tank 
guns include Rheinmetall, Solothurn, Oer- 
likon and Madsen. 

The energy and weight figures given in the 
last two lines of the tabulation are believed to 



be of interest although they should not be 
made the basis of evaluation without full con- 
sideration of the specific characteristics and 
of descriptive data contained in manufac- 
turers' catalogues or in individual reports to 
which reference has been made. For exam- 
ple, the Schneider 47mm, the Bofors 47mm 
and the Madsen 37mm guns, all with rela- 
tively high energy indices, are provided with 
steel tired carriages and are therefore not 
suitable for high road speeds. 

It will be noted that, of the guns listed, 
only the British has true all around trav- 
erse. 132 

The significance of this information, as 
Captain Studler stated, lay in its indication 
of a trend. The exact data were missing. 
The routing slip attached shows that even- 
tually the report reached the chief Ord- 
nance engineers in charge of artillery de- 
sign and in due course went on to men 
at Aberdeen Proving Ground and at Pica- 
tinny Arsenal. The men who did the actual 
work at drafting boards apparently did not 
see the letter. No one requested more 

Years later, when U.S. soldiers discov- 
ered that German tank and antitank guns 
outranged theirs, angry American officers 
charged the Ordnance Department with 
ineptitude for not knowing what high- 
powered armament German units pos- 
sessed.' 33 The Ordnance Department had 
known. G-2 of the General Staff and Ord- 
nance men alike had received warning in 
1937. But they had not acted upon the 
information. Several facts entered in. In 
the first place, Major Smith, in 1937 the 
military observer in Berlin through whom 
the report quoted above was sent, dis- 
agreed with Captain Studler's prophecy 
that German antitank units would in the 
near future be equipped with guns larger 
than 37-mm. Major Smith's comment, 
appended as an indorsement, presumably 
weakened the impact of Captain Studler's 

report. In the second place, because the 
evolution of concepts of defense against 
tanks had not yet gone far, a light-weight 
gun to accompany the infantry was still 
the goal sought. Much later, doctrine 
would dictate use of tanks versus tanks, 
and bazookas or recoilless rifles for power- 
ful defense in infantrymen's hands against 
attacking armored vehicles. Until doctrine 
changed, the requirement of an antitank 
gun little or no heavier than the 37-mm. 
was bound to endure. For what it was, the 
37-mm. was a good weapon; it met the 
requirements as set up. In the third place, 
be it repeated, in 1937 and 1938 the data 
available on the German 47-mm. was not 
enough to permit Ordnance engineers at 
Rock Island and Picatinny Arsenals to 
build a 47-mm. gun and make ammuni- 
tion for it without starting nearly at the 
beginning of the long development proc- 
ess. A Rheinmetall 37-mm. gun, on the 
other hand, was at that moment in the 
possession of the Ordnance Department; 
it could complete adaptation of that design 
for the U.S. Army relatively rapidly. And 
the General Staff wanted something 
quickly. 134 

On foreign tank developments technical 
intelligence was copious. Because combat 
experience with tanks after World War I 
was limited to the Italian campaign in 
Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War, de- 
signers of every nation were especially 
eager to profit from the experiments of 
others. Though the cost of building a pilot 
model precluded the possibility of testing 
every innovation, Ordnance Department 
automotive engineers scrutinized such data 

,:! " Rpt from Berlin, 13 Aug 37. sub: Armament and 
Equipment — Organizational. Standard Rheinmetall 
47 mm AT Gun L/34, OKD 472.95/34/2, Ord Tech 
Intel files. 

, : ' See below . |Ch. XL] 

uti See above, pp. 47-50 



as came into their hands. Some features of 
foreign design were nearly impossible to 
learn; in the fall of 1936, in response to an 
Ordnance Department overture to the 
British proposing freer exchange of infor- 
mation, the military observer in London 
replied that the British War Office had 
never permitted any foreigner to see the 
inside of a British tank. 135 When in 1933 a 
young German, ostensibly as a personal 
hobby, published a book on combat ve- 
hicles, Taschenbuch der Tanks, a. copy sent to 
Washington soon found its way into the 
Ordnance technical library and saw con- 
stant use. Its photographs, text, and tabu- 
lar comparisons of the chief characteristics 
of successive models developed by every 
nation were so informing that the book was 
literally thumbed to pieces in the course of 
the next years. 1 3e Comments appended to a 
report of the spring of 1939 covering recent 
German tank designs indicate that auto- 
motive engineers of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment continued to watch the work of other 
nations. Between 1936 and the end of 1939 
more than a score of reports on German, 
French, and British tanks and tank acces- 
sories came in. Apart from the ever-present 
handicap of too little money to test new 
devices, American tank design was chiefly 
obstructed by the failure to modify doc- 
trine of tactical use. Neither designers' 
ignorance of foreign developments nor 
bland assumption of the superiority of 
American automotive engineering was 
responsible for shortcomings in American 
tanks of the 1930's. 

Many considerations might affect the 
treatment accorded any piece of technical 
intelligence and its ultimate value. The 
reports on the Mohaupt "explosive" may 
serve as an example. In January 1939 a 
military liaison officer chanced upon a 
trail that led him to a young Swiss, Henri 

Mohaupt, who described in general terms 
a new type of explosive which he claimed 
to have developed. A British commission 
was then secretly investigating Mohaupt's 
device and upon payment of a fee later 
witnessed test firings. Correspondence be- 
tween the American military observer 
assigned to Bern, Switzerland, and the 
Mohaupt Company followed, and in July 
the War Department cabled Captain 
Studler to pursue inquiries. Captain Stud- 
ler's report, sent in August, contained a 
photostat copy of the results of the tests 
conducted for the British commission and 
a summary of the most significant features 
of the explosive as Mohaupt himself set 
them forth: its effect, "in certain cases" 
forty times that of TNT for equal weights, 
its stability, its low cost of manufacture, 
and the variety of uses to which it could be 
adapted. Mohaupt claimed also to have 
developed a fuze that doubled the effect of 
the explosive. The British officers who had 
been present at the tests surmised that 
Mohaupt was using the Neumann princi- 
ple but, as they assured Captain Studler, 
although Mohaupt had indeed demon- 
strated the results he claimed for his explo- 
sive, the price he was demanding had led 
the British to drop negotiations. 137 

While this report aroused some immedi- 
ate interest in the Ordnance Department, 
the refusal of Mohaupt and his associates 

1:1 Ltr, London to ACofS, 8 Oct 36, sub: Exchange 
of Information between the United States and For- 
eign Countries Concerning Tank Developments, OO 
321.12/4234, Eng. NA. 

1M When a second edition appeared in 193)1 engi- 
neers in the Ordnance Department were dismayed to 
find included a detailed description of the new Amer- 
ican medium lank with special features, supposedly 
still a carefully guarded military secret. 

1,7 (1) Interv with Col Studler, 9 Jan 49. (2) Rpt 
from London, 12 Aug 39, sub: Ammunition and Py- 
rotechnics, Mohaupt Explosive, OKD 471.(16/280, 
Ord Tech Intel files. 



to divulge any particulars of the construc- 
tion of his device unless the United States 
Government paid $25,000 in advance soon 
halted negotiations: ". . . further interest 
of the War Department," the Ordnance 
Department stated, "is contingent upon 
evidence that either England or some other 
major European power has acquired rights 
for use of the device." 138 Thus, caution 
about spending money delayed matters for 
a year. Late in 1940 Mohaupt in person 
came to Washington under the aegis of the 
American agent of Edgar Brandt, the 
French munitions maker. Doubtless the 
fact that Mohaupt had in hand an actual 
model of a rifle grenade built to his design 
clinched his argument and won him op- 
portunity to make 200 grenades to test fire 
at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The dem- 
onstration at Aberdeen convinced the 
Army and Navy men who witnessed it that 
here indeed was an important "new form 
of munition." They at once recommended 
purchasing rights to employ the Mohaupt 
principle in any form to which it might 
prove adaptable. 119 

The curious fact then came to light that 
the essential features of this "new form of 
munition" had already been offered to the 
Ordnance Department by Nevil Monroe 
Hopkins, an American inventor. The Ord- 
nance Technical Staff had rejected Hop- 
kins' design of a bomb built with a shaped 
charge and rejected it without testing be- 
cause, the letter to the inventor had stated, 
his was not a new idea. 14 " Several months 
later the Technical Staff learned from 
Mohaupt what the British had already 
guessed, that the Mohaupt projectile 
achieved its effect not by a new explosive 
but by similar use of the Munroe principle 
of the hollow charge. By citing the British 
patent of 191 1 that had caused the United 
States Patent Office to deny Hopkins a 

patent, the Ordnance Patent Section 
thereupon showed Mohaupt's "secret" to 
be no secret. The upshot was that the Ord- 
nance Department was able to conclude a 
contract with Mohaupt's company at a 
much lower price than the Swiss had first 
demanded. 1 " An adaptation of Mohaupt's 
design later formed the basis of the 
bazooka rocket. 142 

Estimate of the value of technical intelli- 
gence reports on this new type of projectile 
must be weighed today by recognition of 
Hopkins' contribution. The reports on the 
Mohaupt projectile would have served an 
all-important purpose had they directed 
the attention of American ammunition 
experts to the importance of Hopkins' pro- 
posal. But the Ordnance technicians who 
studied the confidential papers from 
Europe and Hopkins' hollow charge bomb 
obviously saw no connection between 
Mohaupt's development and Hopkins', in 

is* Memo, Subcommittee on Explosives for Orel 
Committee, Tech Staff, 2 Dec 39, sub: Mohaupt Ex- 
plosive — Submitted by Dr. E. Matthias. Zurich, Item 
1291-1, Ord Tech Committee files. 

Memo, Subcommittee on Grenades, Artillery 
Ammunition and Bombs for Ord Committee, Tech 
Staff, 30 Dec 40, sub: Project for Inaugurating the 
Procurement of Rifle Grenades following Designs De- 
veloped by Mohaupt, Item 16374. Ord Tech Com- 
mittee files. 

"The use of the Munroe effect of explosive," 
wrote the assistant to the Chief of Ordnance, "has 
been proposed many times to the Military and Naval 
services and the phenomenon has been known for 
years . . . the type of bomb proposed by you would 
be useful only as a special mission weapon and even 
then of questionable value." Ltr, Gen McFarland to 
Nevil Monroe Hopkins, 2ft May 40. OO 
400.1 1 1/1 1068, DRB AGO. Test of the "Dynamix" 
explosive Hopkins proposed took place at APG in 
1941 but in an ordinary bomb casing minus the hol- 
low charge feature. The "Dynamix" filler alone 
proved impractical. OCM 20082, 15 Mar 43. 

Patent 28030. Photostat copy in OD Patent Sec. 
Subsequently, Mohaupt's patent applications were 
held abandoned by the Commissioner of Patents for 
violation of sccuritv. 

1 See Ch. XII, belo 



spite of the lead given them by British re- 
search chemists' conclusions cited in one 
report from abroad. The British, in fact, 
supplied only with the photographic rec- 
ords of the Zurich tests and the British 
officers' oral descriptions, which the mili- 
tary report made equally available to the 
United States, proceeded to develop hol- 
low char ge projectiles of their own. 143 In 
the United States the investigation was 
dropped until the Brandt agent in Wash- 
ington intervened to get Mohaupt a 
chance to demonstrate his grenade. Tech- 
nical intelligence was not involved in that 
transaction; the 1939 reports from Europe 
had no influence whatsoever upon the 
Ordnance Department's decision many 
months later to test Mohaupt's grenade. 

These examples indicate that utilization 
of technical intelligence was at times both 
prompt and intelligent, at other times lag- 
gardly and unimaginative. For the lapses 
explanations of a sort can be found: the 
small staff of officers and trained civilians 
in the Office, Chief of Ordnance, before 
1940, with the consequent multiplicity of 
assignments for each person which auto- 
matically reduced his time for thinking 
through a problem; the limitations on 
Ordnance research and development im- 
posed by higher authority both through 
control of the purse strings and through 
specifying the characteristics that any new 
item should embody; and finally the fact 
that the temper of the American people up 
to 1939 made American involvement in 
war so unthinkable that vigorous pursuit 
of new munitions developments could 
hardly seem urgent. Ordnance officers and 
employees carried on their work in a 
milieu where everyone was more concerned 
with butter than with guns. Nevertheless, 
the testimony to a deep-seated compla- 
cency, inimical to ideas not originating 

within the upper echelons of the Ordnance 
Department, cannot be brushed aside. 144 
Nevil Monroe Hopkins, though naturally 
a somewhat prejudiced judge, voiced the 
charge: "To the 'expert' smug in his 'supe- 
rior' convictions, the writer often would 
like to say — 'Better not know so much that 
much of it is untrue.' " 143 

Still, the Ordnance Department was by 
no means alone in its too frequent do- 
nothing attitude. Every branch and service 
of the U.S. Army, including the Air Corps, 
displayed it. 14li Indeed many weaknesses 
of Army Technical Intelligence before 1940 
may be fairly attributed less to impercep- 
tiveness or easy goingness of individuals on 
the General Staff or in the Ordnance De- 
partment than to the lack of any system- 
atic routine for following up information. 
In the first place, military liaison officers 
had only very general instructions. Neither 
G-2 nor the Ordnance Department 
through G-2 had mapped out charts or 
lists of items upon which data were desired. 
Military observers were obliged to exercise 
their own judgment on what would be use- 
ful. Correct estimates of what to look for 
became increasingly difficult as in the 
course of time the officer serving abroad 
lost touch with the work of the Ordnance 
men at home. No regular two-way ex- 
change of information between the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, and the observers was 
provided for. In the second place, when 
thought-provoking information reached 

141 (1) Directorate of Explosives Research, Research 
Dept. Woolwich, England, "Cavity Effect" of Ex- 
plosives. A Summary of its History and Service Uses. 
Sep 41, Incl 1 to OO 350.05/1205. DRB AGO. (2) 
Group Capt. Claude H. Keith, RAF (Ret.), I Hold 
Mji /li'ffi (London, 1946), pp. 147-49. 

144 Interv with Col Studler, 19 Jan 40. 

14 -' Nevil Monroe Hopkins, The Battleship Wreck- 
ing Bomb, p. 3, photostat copy in OD Pat Sec. 

1 ,b For example, Air Corps failure to adopt self- 
sealing gas tanks before 1942. 



the Ordnance Department, no recognized 
procedure existed whereby it could quickly 
affect policy decisions. An Ordnance 
draftsman working on the American 37- 
mm. antitank gun might question whether 
the 37-mm. would be powerful enough in 
view of the German development of a 47- 
mm., but his job was confined to designing 
a weapon incorporating features deter- 
mined by higher authority, in this case a 
37-mm. He might discuss the question with 
the engineer in charge of the section, the 
chief engineer, in turn, with the head of 
the Technical Staff Artillery Division, the 
latter with the chief of the Technical Staff 
and with Ordnance Technical Committee 
representatives of the using arm and of the 
General Staff. Not only would this take 
time, but the chances were at least even 
that somewhere along the line the discus- 
sion would get sidetracked. Both imagina- 
tion and persistence would be needed to 
drive home the point that a new European 
development was rendering obsolete an 
American design. The users had to be con- 
vinced and then the Bureau of the Budget 
and Congress had to be persuaded to sup- 
ply the money. It was no one person's job 
to see that knowledge was translated 
promptly into appropriate action. 

The General Staff looked to the Ord- 
nance Department for expert advice on 
munitions; the Ordnance Department ex- 

pected the using arms and G-2 to stipulate 
their requirements, based on over-all plans 
of tactical use and evaluation of competi- 
tors' equipment. Between these groups 
important decisions could easily be delayed 
or altogether lost in the shuffle. The proc- 
essing of information was at times inordi- 
nately slow. If the dates on route slips be a 
safe index, a military report in the 1930's 
might take nearly a year to circulate. Some 
reports remained with G-2 several months 
and took another six or seven to go the 
rounds of Ordnance Department offices. 147 
Routing technical intelligence within the 
Ordnance Department was left to a clerk 
who lacked authority to push matters. By 
the time decision to act upon a report was 
reached, the information might well be out 
of date. Not until the summer of 1940 did 
the General Staff awaken to the faultiness 
of its intelligence system and set up the 
machinery for more effective operations. 148 

1,7 The commanding officer al Aberdeen com- 
mented at the end of 1937: "Judging from the age of 
the . . . Reports received at the Aberdeen Proving 
Ground any method which would tend to speed up 
the dissemination of information from abroad is de- 
sirable." 1st Ind, CO APG for CofOrd, 21 Dec 37, 
sub: Dissemination of Information, OO 321.12/4301 
Eng, N A. 

,4S (1) Memo ACofS G-2 for CofS, 16 Aug 40, sub: 
WD Special Regulation, War Dept, Intelligence, 
MID 350.05 1, DRB AGO. (2) Ltr, TAG to Chiefs of 
All Arms and Services, 6 Sep 40, sub: Intelligence 
Sections in the Office of Chiefs of Arms and Services, 
AG 321.19 MID, DRB AGO. 


Wartime Organization and 
Procedures in Research and 

It is easy even for participants in the 
military planning and labors of 1940 to 
forget the strains, the uncertainties, the 
hours of frustration, and the moments of 
despair that marked that summer. Fever- 
ish activity within the War Department 
accompanied anxiety born of the successes 
of the German armies. As money flowed 
out for rearming the United States, the 
Ordnance Department set itself vigorously 
to its task. Pressure eased slightly after the 
failure of the German blitz upon England, 
only to mount to a new height in the fall of 
1941 as war in the Pacific loomed ever 
closer and Hitler's subjugation of all conti- 
nental Europe seemed imminent. When 
the disasters of late 1941 and 1942 occurred 
in the Pacific, grim determination lent new 
energy to officers responsible for replacing 
the lost equipment and supplying the 
Army with weapons more efficient than it 
had ever had before. The slowness of the 
build-up in 1943, the hopes for the inva- 
sion in mid- 1944, the shock of the Ar- 
dennes offensive that December, and the 
ultimate triumph of 1945 formed a back- 
drop of emotional tension in the arena 
where the Ordnance Department played 
its part. The rest of this volume treats of 

Ordnance research and development work 
topic by topic, and thus sacrifices much of 
the drama inherent in the sweep of events. 
Though clarity has demanded a discussion 
based on particular aspects of technologi- 
cal problems, the reader must remember 
that work proceeded in an atmosphere 
darkening and lightening with the defeats 
and victories of Allied armies in the field. 

Factors Immediately Conditioning Research 
and Development 

Because the time necessary to evolve 
the complicated mechanisms of modern 
weapons from initial design to finished 
product is long, logic suggests that Ameri- 
can soldiers must have fought World War 
II mostly with equipment developed be- 
fore Pearl Harbor. Down into 1944 this 
was indeed the case. Yet before V-J Day 
arrived, American and Allied troops were 
using a number of weapons that in 1941 
were scarcely more than vague ideas. 
While the truly revolutionizing new items 
such as the amphibious cargo and person- 
nel carriers, the proximity fuzes, and the 
homing bombs were not conceived within 
the Ordnance Department, its staff con- 


tributed such innovations as armor- 
piercing-incendiary ammunition, bazoo- 
kas, and recoilless rifles. Equally essential 
to victory were the series of developments 
pushed to completion upon weapons and 
vehicles on which Ordnance technicians 
had worked for years — the 90-mm. anti- 
aircraft and tank guns, the fire control 
devices, the aircraft cannon, the tanks. 
Altogether, some 1,200 new or vastly im- 
proved items containing thousands of com- 
ponents w r ere designed and produced 
before midsummer 1945. The difficulties 
of achieving this feat bear review. 

The first handicaps in this race against 
time were the late start and the necessity 
for haste. During the peace years money 
for Ordnance research and development 
had been little. The backlog of projects in 
1940 was large. Yet in the summer of 1940 
research and development work upon new 
Ordnance materiel had to be relegated to 
a secondary role because the urgency of 
getting equipment into the hands of troops 
was so great that quantity production of 
accepted items had to be the first task. Not 
until mid- 1942 were experts of the Ord- 
nance Department released to work solely 
upon design and development of new 

Meanwhile, observation of combat in 
Europe and, later, actual fighting in the 
Pacific and North Africa revealed weak- 
nesses and gaps in American equipment 
that added to the list of projects requiring 
investigation. Thereupon arose the prob- 
lem of contriving a system of communica- 
tion whereby Ordnance officers in the 
theatres could transmit quickly to research 
and development men in the zone of the 
interior the exact nature of the changes 
combat experience dictated. Establishing 
machinery to effect this took many months 
and was scarcely in operation until the 

spring of 1943. Only delegation of many 
research problems to other agencies en- 
abled the Ordnance Department eventu- 
ally to supply American and Allied forces 
with arms and ammunition as good as or 
superior to the enemy's. 

A third problem grew out of the climate 
and terrain to which fighting equipment 
was exposed. Corroding dampness, exces- 
sive heat, bitter cold, beach landings where 
stores were drenched in salt water, opera- 
tions over coral reefs, desert sand, or pre- 
cipitous mountain trails, through thick 
jungle or deep snows, all threatened to 
immobilize or seriously damage munitions. 
Prolonged, careful, and expensive experi- 
mentation was needed to find answers to 
these problems. Money had not been 
available in the twenties and thirties. 
Again the late start added to difficulties, 
although, in the absence of combat testing, 
some malfunctions could scarcely have 
been forestalled. 

A final difficulty was the problem of 
designing materiel that could be mass pro- 
duced by American industry from avail- 
able materials. No item, regardless of its 
perfection of design, could be counted upon 
unless private companies could turn it out 
accurately and quickly. In spite of the 
efforts of the Ordnance districts in the 
1930's to prepare manufacturers for muni- 
tions production, most firms in 1941 still 
lacked experience. Hence, simplicity of 
design was important. Machine-tool short- 
ages also emphasized this need. Further- 
more, private industry's inexperience 
pointed to the wisdom of making as few 
changes in design as possible once con- 
tracts for manufacture had been let and 
production lines set up. It is true that in 
some instances success in devising a new- 
piece of equipment depended upon the 
ability of manufacturers to make intricate 



parts of extraordinary delicacy. Thus the 
proximity fuze was made possible by find- 
ing producers who could make tiny tur- 
bines and generators and miniature radio 
circuits of utmost exactness and make them 
by the hundred thousand. But in all cases 
the less complicated the design, the surer 
the Ordnance Department was of getting 
materiel fabricated to specification. More- 
over, since adequate stock piles of strategic 
raw materials had not been accumulated 
in advance, or because sufficient quanti- 
ties of the ideal material nowhere existed, 
development of ordnance was handi- 
capped by the necessity of finding sub- 
stitute materials — synthetic rubber, plas- 
tics, new alloy steels/ Shortages of tin and 
copper launched the attempt to produce 
steel cartridge cases. Vehicles rode on syn- 
thetic tires. Rubber washers gave way to 
neoprene washers. Tank engines had to be 
adjusted to burn lower octane gasoline. 
Use of new materials required extensive 
preliminary research. - 

In view of the baffling problems to be 
solved and the dearth of men qualified by 
scientific training and experience to deal 
with them, the success of the wartime re- 
search and development program stands 
as a triumph. It was a job demanding wide 
collaboration. President Roosevelt's cre- 
ation of the National Defense Research 
Committee — NDRC, for short — in June 
1940 was an all-important step in aligning 
civilian scientists to share in the task. The 
Ordnance Department had opened nego- 
tiations some months earlier with the Na- 
tional Academy of Sciences to pursue a 
number of investigations too remote from 
the immediate urgent problems at hand to 
be handled by the overworked staff of the 
Ordnance Department itself. In October 
these projects, eighteen of them in the 
field of ammunition, were turned over to 

the NDRC. Other assignments followed. 
By thus enlisting leading civilian scientists 
to undertake most of the basic long-range 
research for the military, the United States 
escaped the consequences that Germany 
faced after 1942 when lack of co-ordina- 
tion between projects, subordination of 
research and development to production, 
and the resulting recourse to stop-gap 
measures lost the German nation the fruits 
of its best scientific knowledge and 
potential. 3 

For the scientist, a sharp distinction 
exists between basic research, the seeking 
of new principles of broad application, and 
technical research, that is, the application 
of new knowledge or of previously existing 
knowledge to a specific new item. The role 
of research in most government enterprises 
is logically limited to the latter. Certainly 
the military departments of the United 
States Government have rarely been free 
to pursue basic research save in the realm 
of ballistics: their responsibility is to apply 
the broad findings of fundamental research 
to specific military problems. Even the 
Manhattan Project was, strictly speaking, 
concerned largely with technical research, 
for much of the basic research upon the 
feasibility of splitting the atom had pre- 
ceded the study of using this force in a 
bomb. Thus, apart from the work of its 
Ballistic Research Laboratory, the Ord- 
nance Department never deliberately 
engaged in basic research, though occa- 
sionally men at Watertown, Picatinny, 

1 A Strategic Materials Act permitting stockpiling 
had been passed by the Congress in June 1939. but 
the amounts accumulated under this law were lim- 
ited. Sec Milieu. Mobilization Planning, MS, OCMH, 
p. 53. 

2 Sec Ch.| XVIII J below. 
'. Cren. Lesli 

: See Brig 

E. Simon. German Research in 

World War FI (New Yor k and London. 1947) 

pp. 90- 


and Frankford Arsenals found themselves 
constrained to carry on fundamental in- 
vestigations in such fields as metallurgy 
and explosives. The Ballistic Research 
Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground 
was an exception to the rule because study 
of the behavior of projectiles inevitably 
involves exploration of physical and chem- 
ical reactions of a basic character, and 
because no civilian institution in America 
had ever interested itself in this field. 

Even technical research, the next step, 
came to be too complex and time consum- 
ing for the Ordnance Department to 
handle unaided after 1940. Thereafter 
until the end of the war, the Army's job 
on everything but ballistics was primarily 
one of development rather than of basic or 
technical research. The delegation of re- 
search problems to the National Defense 
Research Committee, to university scien- 
tists, research foundations, and industrial 
laboratories released the engineering 
talents of the Ordnance Department for 
the tasks of transforming laboratory inno- 
vations into equipment that could be mass 
produced. While there were exceptions, 
most Ordnance Department experimental 
work from 1940 through 1945 was concen- 
trated upon design and development. 

Only after technical research is far ad- 
vanced can design begin. For design, the 
formulation of a pattern from which to 
build working models, is an engineering 
process entailing the calculation of stresses 
and tolerances, and the determination of 
the mechanical and chemical forces re- 
quired and the strength of materials 
needed. From the designer's hand come 
the blueprints and specifications from 
which test models are built. Development 
can proceed only when there is a model to 
work upon, inasmuch as development is 
concerned with making a design practical 

by testing, discovering deficiencies, and 
devising corrections. In producing new 
military equipment, development is quite 
as essential as research. It may in fact con- 
tinue after an item is officially accepted for 
standardization, although minor improve- 
ments are frequently labeled modification 
rather than development. Changes in 
techniques of production aimed at increas- 
ing output, bettering quality, or cutting 
costs may result in slight modifications of 
design, changes usually effected by so- 
called production engineers. W r hen short- 
ages of strategic raw materials necessitate 
use of substitutes, other engineering 
changes are often required. 

In all these creative processes many 
people are involved. Patents are still 
issued, to be sure, and titles to inventions 
are still vested in particular individuals 
who establish their claims to having intro- 
duced original features into a device or 
mechanism. Yet patent offices of every 
nation ordinarily recognize only a few 
features of a design as constituting a novel 
patentable contribution. Modern weapons 
are nearly universally the product not of 
one inventor, or even two or three collab- 
orators but of innumerable people. The 
very source of the initial idea is frequently 
hard to ascertain and the number of con- 
tributors to its development tends to pro- 
duce anonymity. W 7 hen the Ordnance 
Department requested the National De- 
fense Research Committee to undertake 
research upon any one of a series of prob- 
lems, the NDRC in turn might delegate 
investigation of particular phases to scien- 
tists or several research groups at univer- 
sities or foundations. The VT, or radio, 
fuze, for example, evolved from that kind 
of collaboration; at the request of the 
Navy, the NDRC and NDRC contractors 
worked out the basic electronic features, 



ballisticians and fuze experts of the Ord- 
nance Department supplied the guiding 
data to make the fuze workable in ammu- 
nition. Though the patent for torsion bar 
suspension for tanks reads in the name of 
General Barnes of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment, dozens of automotive engineers 
aided in the development. Consequently, 
the discussion of research and develop- 
ment in the pages that follow includes few 
individual names. Participation was so 
wide that rarely can individual credit be 
assigned fairly. 

Evolution of Organized Research and 

Whoever else falls into anonymity, 
Gladeon M. Barnes cannot. From 1938 to 
1946, first as colonel, then as brigadier 
general, and finally as major general, he 
was a dominant figure in the Office, Chief 
of Ordnance, on research and develop- 
ment matters and made his influence 
strongly felt outside as well. As chief of the 
Technical Staff before 1940, he scrutinized 
every project proposed and followed prog- 
ress on all approved. It was largely his 
decision that determined what research 
should be delegated to outside institutions. 
When in the summer of 1 940 General 
Wesson transferred him to Industrial Serv- 
ice to direct production engineering, 
Colonel Barnes brought with him his or- 
ganizing capacity and drive. Though the 
immediate problem then was to hurry 
through the blueprints and specifications 
on accepted materiel in order to get con- 
tractors started on production, Barnes' 
vision of the role research and develop- 
ment should occupy never deserted him. 
As soon as production was well launched, 
his opportunity came. By the summer of 
1942 ammunition plants were in opera- 


chief of the Research and Development Service. 

tion, tanks were beginning to roll out of the 
Tank Arsenal in Detroit, guns and car- 
riages were emerging from factories in a 
dozen states, and fire control instruments 
were in process. Even the newly invented 
bazooka and bazooka rockets were in pro- 
duction. Convinced, therefore, that the 
peak of the crisis of initiating manufacture 
was now passed, General Campbell, the 
new Chief of Ordnance, placed General 
Barnes in charge of a separate research 
and development unit, first called the 
Technical Division, later the Research and 
Development Division and still later the 
Research and Development Service. 

Barnes was a skilled engineer, a grad- 
uate of the University of Michigan School 
of Engineering. He was a man of varied 
ordnance experience, an expert on artil- 
lery, sure of his own judgments. An impas- 



sioned fighter for his own ideas, he was 
unwilling to sit by patiently to wait for his 
superiors to arrive at a vital decision affect- 
ing ordnance, and when necessary would 
take his argument directly to higher 
authority. When he believed that action 
was urgently needed, he took upon himself 
responsibility for starting work not yet of- 
ficially authorized. His very inability to 
see any point of view but his own was in 
many ways an asset to the Ordnance De- 
partment at a time when swift action was 
imperative, though his opponents regarded 
his refusal to consider contrary opinion a 
very great weakness. He cut corners, set 
aside red tape, disregarded orthodox but 
delaying procedures. His admirers admit 
that he made mistakes, but they point out 
that he never pushed upon others blame 
for his own errors. On the other hand, just 
as he took all responsibility for mistakes, 
so, his critics aver, he took to himself credit 
for the solid work of his predecessors and 
of his subordinates. He believed an ex- 
panded Ordnance Department quite able 
to carry out a full research program with- 
out the intervention of any other agency 
except in so far as the Ordnance Depart- 
ment itself might contract for particular 
investigative work with industrial and uni- 
versity laboratories. In 1940 he appeared 
to question the value of a special commit- 
tee of civilian scientists committed to the 
study of possible new weapons, but he was 
the man first chosen to serve as the War 
Department liaison officer with the Na- 
tional Defense Research Committee. 4 It 
was convincing testimony to his compe- 
tence. While many people found him 
lacking in warmth and devoid of per- 
sonal magnetism, throughout the war his 
opinion carried as great weight with his 
adversaries as with his supporters on par- 
ticular issues. His knowledge, his persist- 

ence, and his forcefulness combined to fit 
him for the many-faceted job of directing 
wartime research and development. 

The earlier provisions for Ordnance re- 
search and development assigned planning 
to the Ordnance Committee, 5 design to 
men in Industrial Service. The system was 
the outgrowth of General Williams' deter- 
mination after World War I to have the 
using arms initiate requests for materiel to 
meet their needs, specify the military char- 
acteristics they desired, and then test the 
models designers evolved. The onus of 
responsibility for deciding what was neces- 
sary was thus shifted from the Ordnance 
Department to the combat arms, them- 
selves not always in full accord. 8 Still, the 
arrangement was workable for many years 
largely because the Caliber Board had 
thoroughly mapped out so comprehensive 
a development program that a long series 
of projects stretched out before the Ord- 
nance Department to pursue as time and 
money permitted. The Ordnance Com- 
mittee with its representatives from the 
using arms and General Staff discussed, 
accepted, and rejected specific proposals, 
listened to reports upon progress, made 
recommendations to the General Staff for 
standardization, and finally recorded the 
formal action whereby a new item was 
adopted or an old one declared obsolete. 
The minutes of these meetings, the 
"OCM's," constituted a valuable source 
of information on the course of develop- 

1 Hist oi'Ord R&D Serv. II. NDRC Liaison (here- 
after cited as NDRC Liaison) p. 1 1. OHF. 

: ' Early in World War II the name Ordnance 
Committee was unofficially superseded by the title 
Ordnance Technical Committee. When the War De- 
partment ordered every technical service to establish 
a technical committee, the Ordnance Committee, 
though continuing to function just as it had for more 
than twenty years, came to be called generally the 
Ordnance Technical Committee. 

See Ch. VII above 



ment of each item. The supervising unit 
within the Ordnance Department was a 
group of trained engineers, the Technical 
Staff, headed by an experienced officer. 
As Colonel Barnes described it early in 
1940: "The Technical Staff is . . . re- 
sponsible for research and development 
programs and for the approval of basic 
drawings of new material. It carries out all 
functions in regard to research and devel- 
opment, except the execution of the 
work." ' The exception was a big one. The 
work was done by men in Industrial Serv- 
ice in the Office, Chief of Ordnance, in 
Washington, at the arsenals, or at Aberdeen 
Proving Ground. Occasionally, as in the 
case of research on powder, a commercial 
company undertook some investigation. 
The Technical Staff was an advising and 
recording group, not in any real sense an 
operating unit. The operating group in 
Industrial Service, on the other hand, had 
little say about policy and program. 

As long as Caliber Board projects were 
in advance of any nation's accomplish- 
ments and as long as the tempo of develop- 
ment work was unhurried, the scheme 
sufficed. But it was ill-adapted to pushing 
through the kind of intensive study of al- 
ternatives together with the search for 
totally new scientific devices of war that 
events in 1939 and 1940 called for. Devel- 
opment work on existing models also 
suffered for want of a central head to co- 
ordinate it. Though in the summer of 1940 
General Wesson felt obliged to refuse Colo- 
nel Barnes' plea for a separate research 
and development division dedicated solely 
to these problems, his assignment of Barnes 
to an operating position in Industrial Serv- 
ice proved to be a beginning. In spite of 
the fact that his job was primarily con- 
cerned with production, Barnes encour- 
aged orderly progress on development 

work and himself proposed new lines to 
follow. The nearly seventy projects that he 
listed in May 1940 as requiring immediate 
attention indicate his awareness of what 
needed to be done. 8 Yet a year after he had 
taken charge of production engineering he 
protested the inadequacies of the organ- 
izational set-up: 

1. The duplication of effort involved in the 
design and development of Ordnance mate- 
riel lies between the Technical Staff and In- 
dustrial Service. Take for example, the usual 
way in which a new project is initiated. A 
memorandum is prepared in one of the divi- 
sions of the Industrial Service and sent 
through the office of the Assistant Chief of 
Industrial Service, Engineering to Technical 
Staff. Technical Staff personnel prepare the 
O.C.M. It becomes necessary for this second 
group of officers and civilians to acquaint 
themselves with this project, either through 
contact with the office of the Assistant Chief 
of Industrial Service for Engineering or with 
the divisions. Often it is necessary to have 
these O.C.M. 's rewritten as the writer did not 
quite understand the project. A duplication 
occurs after the design has been prepared by 
the initiating division since the drawings 
must be approved by both the office of As- 
sistant Chief of Industrial Service for Engi- 
neering and Technical Staff. After the O.C.M. 
is approved it is forwarded by letter to The 
Adjutant General, and after the general de- 
sign has been approved by Technical Staff its 
duties cease until the item is ready for test at 
Aberdeen Proving Ground. 

2. Drawings, designs, contacts with indus- 
try, follow-up, and all other work connected 
with development is the responsibility of In- 
dustrial Service. Design work is executed in 
the Industrial Service in Washington, by 
commercial companies, at the various arse- 
nals, or at the Proving Ground. Difficulties 
are now encountered due to lack of authority 
of the Industrial Service at the Proving 
Ground where the ballistic laboratory and 

; Memo. Col Barnes. 13 May 40, sub: Expansion 
of Research and Development Activities, Organiza- 
tion R&D Scrv. Barnes file, OHF. 

" Incl, sub: Estimates, to memo cited n. 7. 



automotive design section have been built 
up. All other design sections and laboratories 
are under the control of the Industrial 

The upshot was the abolition of the 
Technical Staff and the elimination of the 
duplicating efforts Barnes deplored but 
the continuation of research and develop- 
ment activities as an adjunct of produc- 
tion. 10 Only the Ballistic Laboratory at 
Aberdeen Proving Ground functioned as a 
true research unit undistracted by the pro- 
duction problems of Industrial Service. 
Though the new arrangement was an im- 
provement over the old, and though under 
both systems some very important work 
was accomplished, far more rapid progress 
was possible when research and develop- 
ment became an independent division. 
That had to wait until June 1942. 

In keeping with the major branches of 
Industrial Service, General Barnes divided 
the duties of his staff along commodity 
lines, an organizational scheme that he ad- 
hered to both while he was within Indus- 
trial Service and after he became chief of a 
separate division. The principal categories 
of Ordnance materiel were always artil- 
lery, small arms, ammunition, and auto- 
motive equipment, but these were of 
course susceptible of combination and sub- 
division. Just as artillery and automotive 
design had at one time been combined in 
one working unit, so in 1940 aircraft ar- 
mament was specifically included with 
artillery, while tank and combat vehicle 
development was put into a separate sub- 
division. Two years later aircraft arma- 
ment development became so important 
that it was separated from artillery. As the 
Tank-Automotive Center had by that time 
been set up in Detroit and automotive de- 
sign assigned there, a Tank and Automo- 
tive Development Liaison section was 

added to the Technical Division in Wash- 
ington. Similarly, the rocket program, vir- 
tually in infancy in 1942, by 1944 had 
grown to proportions warranting a sepa- 
rate division for rocket development work. 
To care for the mechanics of administra- 
tion of all the commodity groups, an exec- 
utive office was always included in the 

A number of special tasks remained that 
fell clearly neither into any one of the 
commodity development spheres nor into 
the domain of administrative work. These 
were grouped, therefore, into a unit called, 
for want of a more comprehensively de- 
scriptive name, the Service Branch. After 
the summer of 1942 the Service Branch 
was responsible for liaison with other 
agencies dealing with technical develop- 
ments, such as the NDRC and the Na- 
tional Inventors Council; it co-ordinated 
the work of the ordnance laboratories at 
the arsenals and issued the technical re- 
ports on their findings; it prepared and 
disseminated the progress reports consoli- 
dated from the monthly reports of each 
development branch; it formulated and 
supervised investigations and tests of ma- 
terials to minimize use of strategic mate- 
rials and revised specifications accordingly; 
it supervised the activities of the Ballistic 
Research Laboratory and acted as a clear- 
ing house on ballistic information for the 
using arms and services as well as for other 
parts of the Ordnance Department; and 
finally, through its Ordnance Intelligence 
unit it was responsible for analyzing fea- 
tures of foreign materiel by study of items 
sent to this country or described in reports 
from abroad, and then for preparing the 

; ' Memo. Barnes for CofOrd. 14 Jul 41. sub: Sug- 
gested Reorganization of Ord Office. Reorganization 
R&D Scrv. Barnes file. OHF. 

1,1 ODO 103. 29 Jul 41, OHF. 

Chart 8 — Organization of the Research and Development Service: 1 July 1945 


Sec of Navy 

Ek Office of 

Sec ol Wat 

Bureau of 
Naval Ord 


General Staff 





~ I " 

Research & 
Dev Div 


Wright Field 
Dev Div 

Development Br 







Ord Tech 

Research & 

T I 

Reps on 
Serv Bds 






Plans & 
Tng Serv 








Fiscal & 
Firing Gd 

I l_ I 

Dev Div 

Dev Div 






Fuels & 


Tank & 

Motor Tr 

Planning A 




Proj ects 



r— i 




Bomb & 

Art Dev 



r - i 







Special Records & 
Project Anafysis 

Dev Div 





Dev Div 

•Formerly the Service Branch combined Exec and Research and Material*. 
«■ h ^ The broken lines indicate some of the important liaison relationships. 
Source: Org Charts No. 40 through 48, July 1945, Control Br, OCO, OHF. 

Large Cal 

Intermediate Cal 

r Plate 



Research and Development Funds 



R&D Expenditures 

Fiscal Year 

Total Ordnance 

Research & 


Within Ordnance 

Through Outside 


9, 948, 319, 237 
7, 992, 522, 000 
9, 384, 694, 008 

36, 173,000 
9, 563,000 
46, 419, 000 
80, 345, 840 
45, 950, 000 

36, 162, 000 
36, 789, 999 
46, 667, 499 
81, 183, 688 

32, 494, 785 
9, 021, 732 

24, 818, 112 
37,645, 767 
63, 348, 688 



1944 . 

Senate Subcommittee Rpt 5, 23 Jan 45, Pt. I., p. 309, 79th Cong, 1st Sess. The excess of expenditures over appropriations was made 
possible by authorising transfers from other funds. 

summaries and intelligence bulletins for 
distribution to other research and devel- 
opment groups to whom the analyses 
would be useful. The Service Branch thus 
touched every special field of research and 
development, sorting, sifting, channeling 
data, and making available to each group 
the pertinent information assembled by all 
the rest. Later some shifting of labels and 
reshuffling of duties took place, as when 
the Service Branch became the Research 
and Materials Division or when the tech- 
nical reports unit, enlarged to include the 
technical reference unit, was switched to 
the Executive Division. But such changes, 
usually ordered with an eye to saving per- 
sonnel, did not reduce the scope of the 
work to be done. 11 

The machinery for handling this heavy 
load of diverse responsibilities was well 
laid out on paper. Getting it to work de- 
pended on manning it. This was enor- 
mously difficult. As long as development 
work was carried on as part of the produc- 
tion process, General Barnes could use the 
experienced designers of the Industrial 
Service for such development work as time 
allowed. But their number was small, and 
when research and development were sep- 
arated, Industrial Service pre-empted a 

good many. To recruit for the Technical 
Division men of the desired caliber who 
had more than general knowledge of ord- 
nance was harder in 1942 than in 1940 
and nearly impossible by 1944. For exam- 
ple, two branches of the division in No- 
vember 1942 had 27 out of 72 authorized 
military assignments unfilled and 16 out 
of 45 professional civilian jobs in the Of- 
fice, Chief of Ordnance, still vacant. As- 
signment of reserve officers with scientific 
training was one answer, but the supply of 
qualified men was limited at all times. In 
July 1945 the entire research and develop- 
ment staff in Washington numbered only 
153 officers, 24 consultants, and 357 civil- 
ians of all grades. 1 ' 2 

Money for salaries was no longer a 
stumbling block. Though after 1940 a 
greater proportion of funds than formerly 
was spent for laboratory facilities, mate- 
rials, and contracts with outside research 
groups, appropriations for research and 
development were generous enough to 

11 (1) Organization Charts, Schedules A and B for 
Serv Br and Ammo Development Br as of 3 Nov 42, 
Barnes file, OHF. (2) ODO 5-44, 1 1 Nov 44 and 
ODO 58-45. 23 Jul 45, OHF. 

12 (1) Organization Chart, Ammo Div and Serv, 3 
Nov 42, Schedule B. (2) Organization Chart 40, Rev. 
1 Jul 45. Both in Barnes file, OHF. 



provide attractive salaries. 13 

In recruiting research and development 
personnel, some units fared better than 
others, the Ballistic Research Laboratory 
probably best of all. Col. Hermann H. Zor- 
nig, whose genius and foresight had largely 
created the laboratory in the late 1930's, 
had built well. As its first director he had 
started a program of vast importance. 
Consequently, because the laboratory was 
unique and could transfer no part of its 
duties to any other agency, Colonel Zornig 
was allowed to begin enlarging his staff 
early in 1940. A nonresident Scientific Ad- 
visory Council of eminent civilian scien- 
tists, appointed in July, interested a num- 
ber of distinguished physicists and chemists 
in undertaking assignments at the Aber- 
deen laboratory. Oswald Veblen of the 
Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, 
Edwin Hubble of the Mount Wilson Ob- 
servatory, Thomas H.Johnson of the Bar- 
tol Foundation, Joseph E. Mayer of 
Columbia University, Edward J. Mc- 
Shane of the University of Virginia, David 
L. Webster of Leland Stanford, and others 
placed the Ballistic Research Laboratory 
in a position to apply some of the best 
brains in the United States to basic and 
technical research problems. Civilian 
scientists conducted most of the research, 
though after Pearl Harbor they generally- 
donned uniforms as reserve officers. In 
June 1941, upon Colonel Zornig's trans- 
fer, Maj. Leslie E. Simon became director. 
Trained at the laboratory under Colonel 
Zornig, Major Simon carried on the pro- 
gram without any break. In addition to 
the staff at Aberdeen, a University of 
Pennsylvania Ballistic Research Labora- 
tory Annex was set up in 1942 to handle 
some of the ballistic computations, espe- 
cially those on which the University's dif- 
ferential analvzcr could be used. Alto- 

gether by mid- 1944 the Aberdeen group 
numbered about 740, including profes- 
sional people with very special qualifica- 
tions, officers, Wacs, and enlisted men. All 
the enlisted men picked for work in the 
new supersonic wind tunnels laboratory 
had had earlier academic training in 
physics, chemistry, mathematics, or engi- 
neering. 14 

Relations with Civilian Agencies 

The distinction of the staff at the Ballis- 
tic Research Laboratory, abbreviated to 
BRL, was an asset to the Ordnance De- 
partment in more ways than one. In addi- 
tion to the effective work these men ac- 
complished, their stature added prestige to 
the Ordnance Department in its dealings 
with civilian groups such as the NDRC. 
The top-ranking scientists of the academic 
world, in 1940 newly brought in on de- 
fense problems, not unnaturally tended at 
first to regard the military as men of ac- 
tion unsuited to cope with the intellectual 
problems of the research laboratory, but 
respect for the gifts of the officers at the 
BRL soon obliterated this condescension. 
In time, civilian employees of the Depart- 
ment's research staff also came to be rec- 
ognized as possessing the keen intelligence 
and intensive knowledge of the academic 
scientist; indeed, many of them had been 
recruited from universities and important 
industrial research foundations. Personal- 
ity clashes, inevitable in any large group, 
gradually diminished. 1 '' 

Purely professional differences of opinion 
about how to solve any given problem and 

■ See tabk 

p. 225. _ 

' ' Hist of Ballistic Research Laboratory. Ch. I. pp. 
1-15. OHF. 

" Intcrv, 12 Nov 49. with Col Claudius II. M. 
Roberts. Chief of Ammo Development Br. R&D 


friction arising from uncertainties about 
where whose authority ended — uncertain- 
ties inherent in the somewhat vague or- 
ganizational set-up of the NDRC in rela- 
tion to the Army technical services — 
endured longer. Yet from start to finish 
relations between the Ordnance Depart- 
ment and the chiefs of divisions of the 
National Defense Research Committee, 
though not invariably cordial, produced 
useful collaboration. During the first 
months of NDRC's life, official machinery 
for initiating an NDRC research project 
was slow moving: the technical services 
submitted projects to The Adjutant Gen- 
eral for transmission to the NDRC "from 
time to time, as conditions warrant." In 
November 1940 this procedure was sim- 
plified by having requests for NDRC help 
go through The Adjutant General to the 
War Department liaison officer to NDRC; 
this officer then arranged a conference be- 
tween the technical service and the 
NDRC. But by late 1942 this procedure 
also proved needlessly roundabout. There- 
after the Ordnance Department, or any 
other technical service, drew up its request 
and hand-carried it to the War Depart- 
ment liaison officer, who in turn hand-car- 
ried it to the NDRC. In a matter of hours 
the appropriate subdivision of NDRC 
might have the research program 
launched. The Ordnance Department 
then assigned men from its own research 
and development staff, usually at least one 
officer and one civilian expert on each 
project, to serve as liaison with the 
NDRC. ,fi 

The investigations thus delegated almost 
always involved basic or prolonged tech- 
nical research that the Ordnance Depart- 
ment was not at the time equipped to 
handle. A sampling of the more than two 
hundred projects the Department re- 

quested the NDRC to undertake indicates 
their specialized nature: a basic study of 
detonations; the kinetics of nitration of 
toluene, xylene, benzene, and ethylben- 
zene; jet propulsion; special fuels for jet 
propulsion; determination of the most 
suitable normally invisible band of the 
spectrum for blackout lighting and meth- 
ods of employing it in combat zones; prob- 
lems involving deformation of metals in 
the range of plastic flow; phototheodolites 
for aerial position findings; the VT fuze; 
and gun erosion and hypervelocity 
studies. 17 

Occasionally the NDRC pursued proj- 
ects along bypaths or into realms that the 
Ordnance Department felt itself better 
qualified to handle or considered untimely 
to have explored at that stage of the war. 
An attempt of a division of NDRC to par- 
ticipate actively in tank development 
elicited a sharp protest from a vice presi- 
dent of the Chrysler Corporation after a 
visit of the NDRC group to a Chrysler 
plant in Detroit. He declared that the 
group's lack of familiarity with automotive 
engineering would involve a costly waste 
of the time of men who did understand its 
problems. Though one division of NDRC 
had pushed through design of the DUKW, 
the famous amphibian cargo carrier, 18 and 

111 (1) Memos, TAG for Chiefs ofall Supply Serv- 
ices, 22 Aug 40, sub: Basic Research for National De- 
fense, AG 381. National Defense (7-29-40) M-WPD- 
M, and 15 Nov +0 (10-16-40) M-WPD-M. exhibit 
in NDRC Liaison, pp. 24, 27, OHF. (2) Interv, 12 Jul 
50, with Col Ralph M. Osborne, WD Liaison Officer. 

17 NDRC Liaison. Projects OD-02, OD-9, OD-14, 
OD-16, OD-26, OD-27, OD-34, OD-48, OD-52, 

NDRC enlisted the General Motors Corpora- 
tion to do the engineering and experimental shop 
work on this amphibian. The engineers of General 
Motors gave it its name. D for the year 1942, U for 
utility. K for front-wheeled drive, and VV for two rear 
driving axles. Sec J. F. Baxter, Scientists Against l ime 
(Boston. 1946). p. 248. 



could therefore claim some knowledge of 
automotive problems, the proposed tank 
project was canceled. The NDRC report 
later explained that progress had been 
blocked by "inability to secure the coop- 
eration of the Chief of the U.S. Ord- 
nance Department and the automotive 
industry." 19 

Over rocket development also there was 
some controversy. Though the conflict 
here was largely between two different 
schools of thought within the NDRC, and 
the Ordnance Department was involved 
chiefly as it had to support one or the 
other, the question of ultimate control of 
the rocket research program naturally 
cropped up. As interest in rocketry 
mounted, rivalry grew over who was to di- 
rect its course. General Barnes contended 
that all rocket development for the Army 
should be an Ordnance responsibility; 
though the Department should seek 
NDRC help in meeting Army needs, the 
NDRC, instead of plunging ahead on 
fruitless projects, should first "determine 
the military requirements of a device be- 
fore proceeding with its development." -° 
The Chief of Ordnance backed this view 
by recommending to the Army Service 
Forces that "all rocket activity" be co-or- 
dinated through the Ordnance Technical 
Committee. The Ordnance Department 
won its point, but not until the summer of 
1943 was satisfactory co-operation with the 
NDRC reached. 21 While traces of com- 
petitiveness persisted, the general pattern 
resolved itself into an arrangement where- 
by the NDRC assumed leadership in one 
realm, the Ordnance Department in 
another. The acquisition of basic technical 
data pertaining to rockets and the making 
of prototypes of radically different rocket 
designs fell to the NDRC; the Ordnance 
department primarily carried out functions 

of engineering within the scope of at least 
partly known techniques, and of testing 
and removing "bugs" from development 
items, whether originated in the NDRC or 
in Ordnance. L " J 

Suspicious of outsiders and overprotec- 
tive of its own authority and prestige 
though the Ordnance Department may 
have been at times, its attitude toward the 
NDRC was nevertheless understandable. 
Ordnance research men were first and 
foremost engineers rather than pure scien- 
tists. Years of study of the practical engi- 
neering difficulties of designing military 
equipment gave them particular respect for 
the practical as opposed to the theoretical 
aspects of a problem. Long experience 
tended to make them impatient with any 
assumption that the academic scientist 
could readily master the engineering 
knowledge necessary to translate a prin- 
ciple into a usable instrument or weapon. 
Thus the Ordnance Department was re- 
luctant to see the NDRC invade by ever 
so little the field of design. W T hen the civil- 
ian research men were engaged upon 
highly technical investigations of physical 
and chemical phenomena applicable to 
ordnance, the Ordnance Department rec- 
ognized their findings as invaluable; when 
they undertook work impinging upon 
engineering, the Ordnance Department 
became wary. 

,! ' (I) NDRC Liaison. Project OD-60, OHF. (2) 
Div 12. NDRC Summary Tech Rpt. 1948, I, 253. 
OIIF. (3) Barnes Diary. 22 Aug 41 and 19 Mar 42, 

- n Memo. Barnes for CofOrd. 19 Mar 43. sub: 
Comment on Interim Rpt on Rockets by Joint Staff 
Planners. OO 471.94/182, DRB AGO. 

-' (1) Memo. CofOrd for ASF. 8 Jun 43, sub: Rec- 
ommendations of Joint Chiefs of Staff, OO 
471.94/660. DRB AGO. (2) Barnes Diary. 30 Jul 43. 

-- Interv, 12 Jul 50, with Dr. Colin M. Hudson, 
Guided Missiles Sec. R&D Serv. 



Furthermore, the research and develop- 
ment staff, bound by the Army tradition of 
not defending itself to the public, suffered 
from some criticisms it considered unjust. 
Accused by the NDRC of ignoring the po- 
tentialities of hypervelocity guns, Ord- 
nance ballisticians explained that research 
had first to be directed at causes of gun 
barrel erosion and means of lengthening 
barrel serviceability, problems more im- 
mediately important and more quickly 
solvable. While NDRC men themselves 
soon discovered that erosion studies were 
an essential preliminary and involved ex- 
ploration of a maze of possible causes, 
they deplored Ordnance postponement 
until January 1942 of a formal request for 
these studies. By then Ordnance techni- 
cians had already expended considerable 
effort on the study of a German tapered 
bore, high-velocity, light antitank gun and 
knew at first hand both the difficulties and 
the costs of barrel erosion. 23 As develop- 
ment of the types of hypervelocity weap- 
ons upon which a division of the NDRC 
wanted to lavish energy must be a time- 
consuming undertaking, the Ordnance 
Department deliberately gave priority to 
the less spectacular allied projects. But 
when the NDRC successfully developed 
erosion-resistant stellite liners for ,50-cali- 
ber machine gun barrels and a nitriding- 
chrome plating process for small arms 
bores, the Ordnance Department grate- 
fully acknowledged its debt. It made im- 
mediate use of the exhaustive NDRC 
study of the mechanics of barrel erosion 
and acclaimed the sabot projectile for the 
90-mm. gun and the experimental 57-40- 
mm. tapered bore gun evolved by the 
NDRC and its contractors. 21 These 
achievements secured, Ordnance Research 
and Development Service was ready to 
encourage further work on hypervelocity 

guns. The end of the war halted the 
plan. 25 Another criticism voiced by civil- 
ian scientists charged the Ordnance De- 
partment with failure to develop a 
recoilless gun.~ H The highly successful 
57-mm. and 75-mm. recoilless rifles used 
in the last months of war were in fact con- 
ceived, designed, tested, and developed by 
Ordnance men, virtually unaided. State- 
ments belittling Ordnance research did 
not grease the wheels of Ordnance-NDRC 

Relations with the NDRC were thus 
marked by occasional differences of 
opinion, flickers of mutual distrust and, 
after the war, some exasperation within 
the Ordnance Department at what its re- 
search staff felt to be NDRC's tendency to 
claim credit for what the Ordnance De- 
partment had itself done. But it is easy to 

- :i (1) Baxter. Scientists Against Time. p. 3 1. (2) In- 
terv. 6 Jul 50. with Samuel Feltman. Chief of Ballis- 
tics Sec, R&D Serv. ( 3) John E. Burchard. ed.. Rockets, 
Guns and Targets (Boston. 1948). pp. 343-74. (4) Hy- 
pervelocity D evelopm ent. Guns and Ammunition, 
OHF. See also 

Ch. XI. 

cit. . pp. 3 8 7 

Burchard, cd., op. cit.. pp. 387-4 14. Upon the 
sabot, as upon the tapered bore gun, much additional 
work remained to be done after V-J Day. 
NDRC Liaison. Project OD-52, OHF. 
Vanncvar Bush, Modern Arms and Free Men (New 
York. 1949), p. 25. In discussing pre- World War II 
military research programs, Dr. Bush states: "But the 
whole gamut of new ordnance devices — rockets, re- 
coilless guns, guided missiles, proximity fuzes, bazoo- 
kas, frangible bullets — waited for the pressure of war, 
appearing then largely outside the organized system 
of ordnance development, and sometimes in spite of 
it." This judgment the Ordnance Department repudi- 
ates as grossly unfair, inasmuch as the Ordnance De- 
partment itself developed two successful recoilless 
rifles, shared in the work on bazookas and rockets, 
and eventually, in spite of initial doubts, gave whole- 
hearted encouragement to NDRC work on guided 
missiles and V I' fuzes. In development of the frangi- 
ble bullet. Ordnance records show that the Ordnance 
Department was stopped by the Air Forces' unwilling- 
ness to develop an armored target plane. During the 
war NDRC comments in a vein similar to Dr. Bush's 
fanned the sparks of some resen tment w ithin the Ord- 
nance Department. See below, |Ch. X.| 



exaggerate the importance of these diffi- 
culties. They rarely interfered with getting 
on with the job. The undercurrent of 
slight mutual distrust was never more 
than an undercurrent. - 7 As the war wore 
on and Army men saw the fruits of NDRC 
research, their attitudes underwent 
marked change. This shift was of utmost 
importance in determining the role of 
civilian scientists in the postwar organiza- 
tion of the Department of Defense. 

The roots of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment's initial distrust of the NDRC lay in 
the century-old conflict of military versus 
civilian. The Constitution vested control 
of the Army in civilian hands, in the Presi- 
dent as Commander in Chief and the Sec- 
retary of War as his adviser. Beyond that 
the Army had always believed national 
defense should be controlled by the mili- 
tary; civilians should be used for particu- 
lar jobs, but under the aegis of the War 
Department. To this system the Office of 
Scientific Research and Development, 
under which the NDRC operated after 
June 1941, could well be a threat. Just as 
Army control over design and manufac- 
ture of weapons had been challenged in 
the 1850's, might not the NDRC in the 
1940's take unto itself the Army's direction 
of military research and development? 
That many men of the NDRC thought 
civilian direction desirable there can be no 
doubt. The official history of the Office of 
Scientific Research and Development, 
Dr. Baxter's Scientists Against Time, implies 
this attitude. "The failure to make the 
most of our possibilities in high-velocity 
ordnance reveals inadequate civilian in- 
fluence upon strategic thinking," wrote 
Dr. Baxter after the war.- 8 He repeatedly 
hints at shortcomings of American ord- 
nance that civilian supervision of research 
and development would have overcome. 

Throughout the war the Ordnance De- 
partment was strongly opposed to any 
such scheme. In explaining why Ordnance 
officers believed that neither the NDRC 
nor any other civilian agency should be 
allowed to govern Army research pro- 
grams, General Barnes later stated: 

No group of scientists no matter how wise 
could have undertaken this task with no 
preparation. It had taken years to train Ord- 
nance officers to understand the meaning of 
Ordnance equipment in war. NDRC organ- 
ized a number of very useful committees. 
However, their usefulness was handicapped 
by their lack of knowledge of the subject. 
They needed Ordnance leadership. From 
time to time we attempted to give them that 
leadership ... to tell them what was 
wanted. ... In my opinion, if through 
some political move NDRC had been given 
the Ordnance job the Allies would have lost 
the war. 3 " 

In 1942 General Williams, Chief of Ord- 
nance from 1918 to 1930 and later War 
Department liaison officer to the NDRC, 
attempted to allay the anxiety shared by 
all the supply services: 

The liaison between the Supply Bureaus 
of the War Department and the NDRC has 
not been as efficient as it should have been. 
One of the reasons for this was that there was 
no clear line of demarcation between the ac- 
tivities of the NDRC and those of the Bu- 
reaus. This led to a certain amount of 
confusion. Also there was a slight feeling of 
apprehension amongst the Bureaus because 
they feared they might lose some of their re- 
sponsibilities and that these would be as- 
sumed by the NDRC. It seems to me that 

- 1 For an illuminating discussion of this thorny 
question as viewed by men of the NDRC's Division 2, 
see Burehard. rd.. op. cit. . pp. 3 1 5-27. The point of 
view there expressed is that military non-co-operation 
did delay main important projects. 
'-" Baxter, op. cit., p. 31. 

Ibid., pp. 3 1. 36. 202. 254-56. 
Incl to ltr. Gen Barnes to Gen Ward. 25 Jan 52. 



these apprehensions are groundless because 
the NDRC is a temporary organization that 
in all probability will be dissolved shortly 
after the termination of the war. The duties 
and responsibilities of the Bureaus, as stated 
above, continue in peace as well as in war 
and are just as important in peace as they are 
in war. 

Closer and more cordial relationship be- 
tween the Bureaus and NDRC would be 
greatly to the benefit of the Bureaus. :il 

Gradually, Ordnance fears of the NDRC 
subsided, though the "clear line of demar- 
cation" of authority was never officially 

Nevertheless, uneasiness long remained 
lest some scientific super agency be cre- 
ated that would strip the technical services 
of their research and development func- 
tions. A proposal to create an agency co- 
equal with, but independent of, Army, 
Navy, and Air Forces, to take charge of all 
national defense research work sounded 
particularly alarming. 32 By comparison 
the Research Board for National Security, 
established in November 1944 as a sub- 
sidiary of the National Academy of 
Sciences, was innocuous since this board 
received its funds from the military. Not 
until the Secretaries of the Army and 
Navy set up the Joint Research and De- 
velopment Board after the war to co-ordi- 
nate Army and Navy research programs, 
did Ordnance apprehensions disappear. 1 ' 
Fifteen months later, in September 1947, 
the National Security Act of 1947 estab- 
lished within the Department of National 
Defense the Research and Development 
Board where civilians and military men 
shared authority. 11 In 1940 the Ordnance 
Department would have considered such 
an arrangement unthinkable, but war- 
time co-operation with the NDRC left its 

With other civilian agencies engaged in 

munitions development during the war, 
the Ordnance Department had no alter- 
cation. The National Inventors Council 
frequently submitted new designs of weap- 
ons and proposals for innovations, but it 
served principally as an intermediary be- 
tween the inventor and the Ordnance De- 
partment. Manned by a group of gifted 
people including a former Chief of Ord- 
nance, Maj. Gen. William H. Tschappat, 
the council saved endless time for the mili- 
tary by screening the proffered ideas, win- 
nowing the familiar and "crackpot" from 
those that had some promise. Even then 
the council in some months passed on to 
the Ordnance Department as many as a 
hundred "inventions" to study. Very few 
could be used, but the Department neither 
wished nor dared to toss aside any without 
careful examination. la If the Ordnance 
Committee rejected the idea as impracti- 
cal or as a duplication of an idea already 
recognized, there, without argument, the 
matter usually ended. 

The Ordnance Department also dealt 
with a number of committees organized to 
advise on particular problems and with 
special groups within industry. Engineer- 
ing advisory committees drawn from pri- 
vate industry had been an outgrowth of 
the early months of the rearmament pro- 
gram. In the fall of 1940, at the Ordnance 
Department's request, twenty-nine distinct 

;l Memo, Williams, 9 Jun 5 2. sub: Supplv Bureaus 
and NDRC, in NDRC Liaison, p. 38, OIIF. 

:l - S 2721, S 2871. and IIR 7742, 77th Cong, 2d 

;:; (1) Ltr. Robert Patterson and James Forrestal to 
Dr. Frank B. Tewett. 18 Oct 45, in Barnes file on Re- 
search Board for National Security. OHF. (2) Memo. 
Gen Barnes for ASF, 2 Feb 45, sub: Projects and 
Funds for the Research Board for National Security. 
OO 400.1 12/18444. DRB AGO. (3) Barnes Diarv. 31 
Jan 45. OIIF. 

11 Research and Development Board, 1 Jun 50, p. 
7, OHF. 

r ' Interv with Dr. Colin Hudson. 12 Jul 50. 



groups had been organized, each of them 
as an engineering advisory committee on 
a particular type of ordnance — the tank 
committee, the gun forging committee, the 
bomb fuze committee, the pyrotechnics 
committee, the metallic belt link commit- 
tee, and the like. The first purpose had 
been to give manufacturers who had little 
or no experience in making weapons op- 
portunity to thrash out engineering prob- 
lems with Ordnance officers and Ordnance 
engineers. After the first meetings, when 
by vote of the manufacturers' representa- 
tives the committees were given a perma- 
nent basis, the discussions produced not 
only clarifications of existing procedures 
but also a number of sound ideas for im- 
proving designs and simplifying manu- 
facturing methods. These engineering 
committees at the end of two years became 
"industry integration" committees, be- 
cause engineering problems had largely 
been solved and pressure shifted to in- 
creasing production of materiel by the 
then well-establish'ed methods. 

Another vital link between the research 
and development staff of the Ordnance 
Department and research groups of pri- 
vate industry was the series of research 
advisory committees. Some of these had 
existed for years. The Society of Automo- 
tive Engineers Ordnance Advisory Com- 
mittee, for example, had done yeoman 
service during the 1930's by advising Ord- 
nance engineers on suspension and trans- 
mission problems of tank design. The 
Committee on Petroleum Products and 
Lubricants gave the Ordnance Depart- 
ment the benefit of wide experience in that 
specialized field. Perhaps most useful of 
all, among a host of valuable contribu- 
tions, was the work of the Ferrous Metal- 
lurgical Advisory Committee. Divided 
into eight subcommittees, its members 

represented more than two hundred indi- 
vidual companies commanding 85 percent 
of the steel capacity of the country. At 
frequent meetings of these men with Ord- 
nance Department experts, research pro- 
grams were initiated that later resulted in 
improved processes and conservation of 
critical alloys. Of the contributions of all 
these groups General Barnes enthusiasti- 
cally noted: "Through these committees, 
the Ordnance Department has main- 
tained close contact with industry and 
with the best scientific talent in the coun- 
try and has obtained the cooperation and 
assistance of these groups in the solution 
of vital problems pertaining to Ordnance 
materiel." Mi 

Relations with Other Military Agencies 

Relations of the Ordnance research and 
development staff with civilian scientists 
have been discussed at some length not 
only because the ultimate outcome was 
significant but also because it was achieved 
in the absence of established precedents. 
The National Research Council of World 
War I, intended to perform services like 
those of the NDRC, had been started too 
late, had had too nebulous authority, and 
had died too early to provide a pattern for 
collaboration in World War II. 37 In the 
1940's working procedures and mutual 

(1) Memo. Gen Barnes for Col Davies. OCO, 
Control Br. 30 Oct +3. sub: Abolition of Committees. 
Ord Engr Advisory Committees. Barnes file. OHF. 
(2) G. M. Barnes (Major General. United States 
Army (Ret.)). Weapons of World War II I'D. Van Nos- 
trand Company. Inc.. New York. 1947), p. 10. 

:!7 William F. Willoughby. Government Organization 
in War Time and After (New York and London. 1919), 
p. 22. citing Fsec Order of 1 1 May 1918. See also, 
Irving B. Holley, Jr.. Ideas and Weapons, Rpt 47 for 
the Industrial College ofthe Armed Forces. 1947. pp. 



responsibilities had to be evolved step by 
step. Ordnance relations with other seg- 
ments of the Army, on the other hand, and 
with the Navy and the Air Forces, fol- 
lowed a relatively familiar pattern. To be 
sure, the creation of the Army Ground 
Forces and the Army Service Forces and 
later the creation of the New Developments 
Division of the General Staff introduced 
some new quirks, but controversy, when it 
occurred, was still a family quarrel to be 
fought out along well-known lines. 

With the Navy, relations were almost 
invariably harmonious. Co-operation with 
the Bureau of Ordnance had had a long, 
untroubled history. Navy and Marine 
Corps representatives on the Ordnance 
Technical Committee effected constant 
liaison on development projects, and a 
steady exchange of formal and informal 
reports on work afoot enabled Army Ord- 
nance and Navy to collaborate. Further- 
more, after January 1943 high-ranking 
officers of both Army and Navy held sev- 
eral special conferences to discuss research 
and development problems common to 
both services. 38 Division of labor in new 
fields of research was usually sufficiently 
defined to prevent duplication of effort. 
For example, while the Army Submarine 
Mine Depot was concerned with mines for 
harbor defense and the Naval Ordnance 
Laboratory with mines for offense in enemy 
waters, joint efforts went into developing 
ship detection devices for use in submarine 
mines for both purposes, and joint use of 
mine testing facilities ensued in taking 
underwater measurements. In the VT fuze 
program the Navy agreed to sponsor the 
development of projectile fuzes for both 
Army and Navy antiaircraft gun shells, the 
Army the development of fuzes for bombs 
and rockets for both services. Both services, 
as well as civilians, worked on adapta- 

tions for using the fuzes in other ground 
weapons. 38 

Collaboration with the Army Air Forces 
in developing air armament also was eased 
by years of close association. From 1922 to 
1939 an Ordnance liaison officer had 
always served at Wright Field where Air 
Corps experimental work was centered. 
When in the summer of 1939 the aviation 
expansion program called for an extension 
of Ordnance work, Maj. Clyde Morgan of 
the Ordnance Department was assigned as 
chief of the Ordnance section of the Wright 
Field Materiel Division. Perpetuation of 
the division of responsibilities between the 
Air Corps and Ordnance Department as 
established in the 1920's made the Air 
Forces responsible for development of all 
materiel that was an integral part of the 
plane — the gun turrets, bomb shackles, 
and bomb sights — the Ordnance Depart- 
ment for the guns, the gun mounts, the 
bombs, and fire control mechanisms. 40 
Arguments inevitably occurred from time 
to time over such controversial matters as 
the advisability of wire-wrapping bombs or 
the efficiency of the 20-mm. aircraft can- 
non but, until development of guided 
missiles began, differences were minor. 41 

;i» jj" or example, see: (1) Joint Rpt Army- Navy Con- 
ference on Ord R&D. 1 1 Feb 43. OO 337/5501. and 
(2) min, Joint A&N mtg on Army Ord R&D, 15 Sep 
44, both in A&N Mtgs, Barnes file, OHF. See also in- 
terv, 15 Jun 51, with Col Scott B, Ritchie, Deputy 
Chief R&D Serv. 

;1 " (1) Col William H. Draper, Jr., and Capt Lewis 
L. Strauss, USNR. Coordination of Procurement Be- 
tween the War and Navy Departments, Feb 45, II, 
14-15; III. 87, 90. (2) Record of Army Ord R&D, 
Submarine Mines. Ch. VII. (3) Joint VT Press Conf 
Rele ase. 27 Sep 45. p. I. All in OHF. See also Ch. 
|XII.| below. 

4 " (1) Ordnance in the Air Forces, pp. 13-14, MS 
in Air University Hist Liaison Office. (2) Hist of Ord 
Sec, Wright Field, Vol. I. Exhibits A tqj, OHF. (3) 
Interv, 14 Jul 50, with Harry S. Beckman. Bombs and 
Pyrotechnics Sec, R&D Serv, 

" Barnes Diary, 21 Nov 42, 21 Aug 44, OHF. 



In the summer of 1944 Brig. Gen. 
Richard C. Coupland, the Ordnance offi- 
cer assigned as liaison at Army Air Forces 
headquarters in Washington, urged that 
the Ordnance Department assume respon- 
sibility for development of all guided mis- 
siles, commenting that "projects of [this] 
type are running around loose and being 
furthered by anyone aggressive enough to 
take the ball and run." 42 Air Forces and 
Ordnance Department, as well as the 
NDRC, had for months been pursuing 
investigations of this type of weapon. Ger- 
man use of "buzz bombs" and later of the 
deadly V-2 rockets, about which special- 
ists in the United States already knew a 
good deal, sharpened awareness of the 
urgency for work in this field. The field 
was wide enough to be divided, but obvi- 
ously the duplication of research or the 
withholding by one group of data useful to 
the other must stop," A conference of rep- 
resentatives of the Air Forces and of the 
New Developments Division of the General 
Staff in September cleared the air. A Gen- 
eral Staff directive followed, charging the 
AAF with "development responsibility 
. . . for all guided or homing missiles 
dropped or launched from aircraft . . . 
[or those] launched from the ground which 
depend for sustenance primarily on the lift 
of aerodynamic forces." Army Service 
Forces — in effect, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment — was to develop missiles "which de- 
pend for sustenance primarily on momen- 
tum of the missile." 44 Early in January 
1945 the General Staff requested the Ord- 
nance Department to attempt develop- 
ment of a missile suitable for antiaircraft 
use, though the Air Forces was also work- 
ing on a ground-to-air missile. 45 No ob- 
structive competition between the services 

With headquarters of the Army Service 

Forces, the Ordnance research and devel- 
opment staff faced some difficulties, par- 
ticularly during ASF's first year. The 
interposition of a new command between 
the operating divisions of the Ordnance 
Department and the policymakers of the 
General Staff and the Secretary of War's 
office inevitably introduced new channels 
through which communications must go 
before decisions were reached and Ord- 
nance requests approved. 4<i Since many 
ASF officers were unfamiliar with the 
peculiar problems of Ordnance research 
and development, Ordnance officers were 
frequently irked at the necessity of making 
time-consuming explanations to the ASF 
Development Branch of the whys and 
wherefores of Ordnance proposals. Never- 
theless, as time went on, General Barnes' 
staff found that watchfulness, plus patience 
in interpreting a problem to General 
Somervell's headquarters, generally served 
to win ASF over. If General Barnes be- 
lieved a specially important project likely 
to be side tracked, he bypassed routine 
channels and went directly to General 
Somervell, General Marshall, or even to 
the Secretary of War. Thus, in the face of 
AGF opposition, he persuaded General 
Somervell of the wisdom of proceeding 
with development of a heavy tank and got 
Mr. Stimson's express approval for making 
the 155-mm. gun self-propelled by mount- 

,a Pers ltr. Gen Coupland to Gen Campbell, 7 Aug 
44, Barnes-Campbell Correspondence, DRB AGO. 

J:l (1) 2d Ind. CofOrd to ASF. 4 Mar 44, sub: De- 
velopment of AA Artillery Materiel. OO 47 1 .94/23 1 3, 
DRB AGO. I'2) OCM 23905. 25 May 44. (3) Barnes 
Diary. 1 2 Sep 44. 

" Memo, DCofS for ASF, 2 Oct 44, sub: Guided 
Missiles, OO 47 1.6/1 290'^. DRB AGO. 

45 Ltr. DCofS, to ASF. 18 Jan 45. sub: Guided Mis- 
siles Development. OO 471.6/1392. DRB AGO. 

,s For differences of the Ordnance Department as 
a whole with ASF, see above, [pp, 90-95"] 



ing it on a medium tank chassis. 47 Though 
the struggle during 1942 to get the highest 
priority for Ordnance development work 
was acute, and though later occasional 
controversies arose, such as those over lim- 
ited procurement of the T24 light tank and 
over the heavy tank program, fairly ami- 
cable relations came to be the rule. The 
ASF Development Branch usually ac- 
cepted the Ordnance Department's judg- 
ment about the importance of individual 
projects and only disapproved a program 
when it appeared to mean the diversion of 
industrial facilities from other more press- 
ing jobs. As long as ASF headquarters 
confined itself to staffjobs of co-ordination 
and eschewed what Ordnance officers re- 
garded as operational activities, jurisdic- 
tional troubles scarcely existed. 48 

In spite of ASF co-ordinating efforts, 
from time to time friction developed be- 
tween the Ordnance research staff and the 
Corps of Engineers and Signal Corps. With 
the Engineers the differences of opinion 
over weight and width of equipment in 
relation to bridge capacity were as old as 
tanks. The Engineers periodically pro- 
tested acceptance of vehicles and self- 
propelled artillery that exceeded author- 
ized limits by even a few inches or a few 
pounds, for road and bridge maintenance 
was difficult at best, and unloading tre- 
mendously heavy equipment from ships' 
holds multiplied problems. 40 However jus- 
tified the Engineers' objections to added 
weight and bulk, they were usually over- 
ridden. Assignment in 1944 to the Engi- 
neers of responsibility for all commercial 
tractors having top speeds of twelve miles 
or less per hour took out of the hands of the 
Ordnance Department control of some 
slow-moving artillery prime movers. 1 " 
With the Signal Corps some conflict was 
eventually inescapable because of the 

interrelatedness of electronics, VT fuzes, 
and fire control instruments using radar. 
The Ordnance Department disclaimed 
any wish to "enter the radar business," as 
the Signal Corps charged, but believed 
that the Signal Corps should be used only 
as "an assisting agency" in all development 
work on fire control and guided missiles. 
That, in effect, was the ultimate decision 
reached jointly after V-E Day. "' 1 

When the Army Ground Forces was cre- 
ated, relations with the using arms were 
altered somewhat by the interposition of 
the AGF Requirements Section between 
the combat arms and the Ordnance De- 
partment. The advantages of the new 
arrangement were twofold: decisions were 
reached more quickly, and the require- 
ments of one arm were reconciled with 
those of another. For example, instead of 
the Chief of Infantry and the Chief of Cav- 

17 (1) Interv with Gen Barnes. 12Jun 51. (2) In- 
tcrv, 29 Jun 51. with Brie Gen William A. Borden. 
Asst to Gen Barnes, 1942 to Aug 43. (3) Interv, 2 Jul 
51, with Col John H. Frye. Chief Research and Ma- 
terials Div, R&D Serv, 1943-45. 

,s (1) Barnes Diary. 23 Apr 42: 13-30 Sep 42; 25 
Jul 44; 26 Jul 44: 2 Aug 44; 9 Aug 44: 14 Aug 44; 16 
Aug 44; and 21 Aug 44. OHF, (2) OCM 21446, 2 Sep 
43. (3) Memo. SOS for CofOrd. 23 Sep 43. sub: Light 
Tank T 24. OO 47 0.8/415 Tank. DRB AGO. 
I! ' See 

Ch. VII, 


511 (1) OCM 20342. 6 May 43; 22734. 27 Jan 44; 
251 17, 14 Sep 44; 26898. 8 Mar 45; 27662, 1 7 May 
45. (2) 1st Ind. CofEngrs to ASK, 16 Sep 43, sub: 
120-mm. (4.7") AA Gun Materiel Ml (Tl)— Stand- 
ardization Recommended, OO 47 2.93/1054. DRB 
AGO. (3) Barnes Diary, 1 1 Nov 43. OH F. (4) Memo. 
CofOrd for ASF. 12 Nov 43. sub: Assignment of De- 
sign, Development . . . for Commercial Type Trac- 
tors to Corps of Engineers. OO 451.3/702 Tractors, 
DRB AGO. (5) WD Cir 10. 6 Jan 44. 

r '" (1) Barnes Diary. 20 Oct 43. 23 Dec 44. and 30 
May 45. OHF. (2) 2d Ind. CSO to ASF, 8 Sep 44. 
and 4th Ind. CofOrd to ASF. 14 Oct 44. sub: Re- 
sponsibility for Director T38. OO 413.68/1078. Di- 
rector, DRB AGO, (3) Min. Conference on Fire Con- 
trol Equipment. 18 Jan 45, pp. 5. 10. OHF. (4) Memo, 
Barnes for Campbell. 10 May 45, sub: Ordnance Re- 
lationship with Signal Corps. Barnes-Campbell Cor- 
respondence. DRB AGO. 



airy independently submitting requests for 
new or improved equipment, to be used for 
the same general purpose but having 
slightly different features, the Develop- 
ments Division of the AGF Requirements 
Section passed upon the need and pre- 
pared a single statement of the military 
characteristics deemed essential. As in the 
past, the request with all the pertinent de- 
tails was then processed through the Ord- 
nance Technical Committee to the appro- 
priate section of the Ordnance research 
and development staff to act upon itself or 
to delegate to an outside agency. More 
often than in peacetime, the Ordnance 
Department also initiated projects through 
the Ordnance Technical Committee and 
submitted to the AGF models for comment 
and test. 52 Particularly was this the case in 
developing tanks and self-propelled artil- 
lery. It was largely over these that conflicts 
between the Ordnance Department and 
AGF arose. 

Pronounced differences of opinion about 
the tactical utility of heavy tanks had first 
been voiced in 1920 when "heavy" meant 
any tank weighing more than twenty-five 
tons. 53 For the next twenty years lack of 
money as well as War Department dis- 
approval prevented the Ordnance Depart- 
ment from pursuing work upon heavy 
tanks, but in 1940 and 1941 engineers of 
the Department's automotive section suc- 
ceeded in designing and building a sixty- 
ton model mounting in the turret a 3-inch 
gun and a 37-mm. gun. The tank was 
standardized in February 1942 as the M6. 
Notwithstanding this official approval, the 
AGF immediately objected. Further tests 
led the Armored Board to pronounce the 
M6 unreliable and much too heavy, and 
consequently procurement was limited to 
forty tanks. Not one was shipped overseas. 
Periodic Ordnance proposals to modify the 

M6 to eliminate its weaknesses never met 
with approval. j4 But General Barnes was 
convinced that before the war was over the 
ground forces would need a heavy tank. 
He therefore set his arguments and plans 
in some detail before General Somervell, 
who concurred in Barnes' proposal to de- 
velop a much more powerful tank than 
any the AGF was willing to adopt at that 
time. JJ 

Fighting in North Africa, in the spring of 
1943, was proving that American tanks 
must have greater fire power than the 
37-mm. and 75-mm. guns on the Grants 
and Shermans could furnish. Though the 
Shermans, rushed to the British in the 
autumn of 1942, had helped to turn the 
tide at El Alamein, in the course of the 
winter the Germans' increasing employ- 
ment of long-barreled, high-velocity 75- 
mm. guns on Panzer IV tanks and the 
appearance of sixty-ton Tigers mounting 
88-mm. guns gave Rommel's troops an 
advantage. Nevertheless, the AGF was re- 
luctant to accept heavy tanks carrying 
thicker protective armor plate and mount- 
ing bigger guns. The commanding gen- 
eral, Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, doubtless 
fortified by the advice of officers in North 
Africa, clung to faith in the superiority of 
the more mobile, maneuverable medium 
tank. He demanded more powerful but 
not heavier guns and tanks; the greater 
weight of large-caliber guns tended to off- 
set the advantage of the greater mass of the 
projectiles they fired. As muzzle velocity 

Maj D. L. McCaskey, The Role of the Army 
Ground Forces in the Development of Equipment, 
AGF Study 34 (hereafter cited as AGF Study 34), pp^ 
7-13. 21. OH F. The Requirements Section was at 
first a di vision at t he operating level. 
" See[Ch7_TTT] above. 

" (1) AGF Study 34, pp. 37 38. 44-45, OHF. (2) 
R&D, Tanks, pp. 1A200-204, OHF. (3) Interv whh 
Barnes. 1 3 Jun 51. 

Interv with Barnes. 1 3 Jun 5 1 . 



usually decreases with increased caliber, 
unless the gun barrel be excessively long, it 
was axiomatic that the smallest caliber 
that could deliver a sufficiently effective 
projectile to destroy the target would be 
the best. The problem was to design a 
weapon in which the various factors were 
most effectively balanced. Use of high- 
velocity, tungsten-carbide-core, armor- 
piercing ammunition, known as HVAP, 
was a partial solution, and subcaliber pro- 
jectiles with discarding sabot might have 
been another. The discarding sabot type of 
projectile was not adopted by AGF because 
of probable danger to the user."'' 4 General 
McNair also disapproved mounting a 
90-mm. gun in a medium tank.* 7 The M4 
series of medium tanks, plus a suitable tank 
destroyer, would serve, he believed, to de- 
feat German armor. 58 Though advances 
in metallurgy by 1942 had enabled the 
Ordnance Department to build light but 
powerful 76-mm. and 90-mm. guns out of 
newly developed, thin, higher physical 
steel, Ordnance men were convinced that 
medium tanks, whether mounting 76-mm. 
guns or 105-mm. howitzers, must be sup- 
plemented by heavy tanks. The conflict of 
opinion, which was "fought out bitterly 
around 1943," was actually three-sided, 
involving the Armored Force as well as 
AGF headquarters and the Ordnance 
Department. 59 

While General Barnes and his staff 
worked on a series of heavy models em- 
bodying the results of Ordnance experi- 
ence, the Army Ground Forces early in 
1944 undertook to draw up a lengthy list 
of specifications for a "general purpose" 
tank. 60 These specifications the chief of the 
tank development unit at the Detroit Tank 
Arsenal later characterized as "amateur- 
ish." 61 The wanted combination of light 
ground pressure, high speed, great fire 

power, and heavy protective armor, Ord- 
nance engineers believed, comprised mu- 
tually irreconcilable features. When a 
request was submitted for what the Ord- 
nance Department considered a physical 
impossibility, the Research and Develop- 
ment Service became indignant at accusa- 
tions of non-co-operation. Admittedly, 
pressure to achieve the "impossible" some- 
times produced astonishing results, but in 
prevailing Ordnance opinion shortcomings 
in American equipment were attributable 
far less to Ordnance ineptness than to the 
shortsightedness of the using arms and to 
the frequent shift of AGF ideas. General 
Barnes felt that battle trial of some experi- 
mental materiel would prove to combat 
troops that equipment was available that 
met their needs even though AGF had not 
thought of it. Between early 1943 and the 
end of the war he repeatedly urged the 
battle testing of a series of heavy tanks the 
tank arsenal had developed. These tanks 
varied in weight from 45 to 64 tons and 
carried 90-mm., 105-mm., or 155-mm. 
guns. The models armed with 105-mm. 

Sli (1) AGF Study 34. pp. 49-50. OHF. (2) Interv. 
25 Jul 50. with Samuel Feltmarr, Chief Ballistics Sec. 
R&D Serv. 

'■ Ltr. Brig Gen Harold A. Nisley, AGF Ord Offi- 
cer, to Brig Gen Henry B. Sayler. Chief R&D Serv, 
1 1 Jun 47, Tank and Motor Transport, Barnes file, 

~' s ( l'l Greenfield. Palmer, and Wilev. op. cit. , pp. 
423-24. (2) Memo, AGF for ColS, 28 Nov 43. sub: 
Theater Requirements for New Type Tanks, AGF 
480.8/75, DRB AGO. (3) Memo. AGF for CofS, 30 
Nov 43, sub: Heavier Armament for Tanks and Self- 
Propelled Vehicles, AGF 480.8/76, DRB AGO. 

See n. 57. The Armored Force frequently sup- 
ported the Ordnance position. 

fi " Hq Armored Center, Mil Characteristics for an 
Improved Medium Tank, 23 Sep 44, AGF 470.8/106 
GNRQT/7078, copy in Tank and Motor Transport, 
Barnes file. OHF. 

Ltr, Col Joseph M. Colby, Chief Dev and Engr 
Dept, Detroit Arsenal to Mr. F. Gordon Barber, R&D 
Serv. 14 May 47. Tank and Motor Transport, Barnes 
file, OIIF. 



and 155-mm. guns were not tested until 
after the war. The model mounting a 
90-mm. gun fared better. In the face of 
some opposition from the AGF, permission 
was at last secured from Secretary of War 
Stimson and General Marshall to send 
overseas twenty of the experimental model, 
the 46-ton T26E3. Nicknamed the Gen- 
eral Pershing, this tank with its 90-mm. 
gun M3 was first used by the 3d and 9th 
Armored Divisions in the drive from the 
Roer River to the Rhine. Despite conflict- 
ing reports of its performance the tank was 
standardized in March 1945 as the M26. 62 
Only less prolonged and heated was the 
disagreement about the value of self- 
propelled artillery, though the 105-mm. 
howitzer motor carriage M7 had proved 
itself in British hands in North Africa. The 
Tank Destroyer Command took exception 
to Ordnance proposals to construct a tank 
destroyer by mounting a 90-mm. gun upon 
a 3-inch gun motor carriage, and General 
McNair also objected. Later, the 90-mm. 
mounted on a tank chassis was enthusiasti- 
cally received. 63 Over medium self-pro- 
pelled artillery AGF headquarters again 
differed sharply with the Ordnance De- 
partment. General McNair cited a British 
report on the battle at El Alamein which 
stated that the artillery preparation for the 
advance would have been handicapped if 
it had been necessary to lift ammunition 
to the raised platforms of self-propelled 
guns. When he added that the British had 
not paid much attention to self-propelled 
artillery, General Barnes, obviously con- 
sidering this no valid argument, tartly re- 
plied that the British "have not gone very 
far with anything else either." 64 In each 
case the Ground Forces was eventually 
converted, but such items as the 155-mm. 
howitzer motor carriage M41 were not 
approved until late in the war. 65 

The technicalities of tank and artillery 
design will be discussed below. 66 Here it is 
necessary only to note that the protracted 
arguments between AGF and the Ord- 
nance Department over these develop- 
ments were based wholly on professional 
differences of opinion. In the field of small 
arms such conflicts did not obtain. But as 
each side vigorously defended its views on 
tanks and motorized artillery, each sure of 
its Tightness, relations were often distinctly 
strained. The controversy assumed such 
proportions by the summer of 1944 that 
the General Staff appointed a board to 
recommend procedures to be followed 
after the war. The report of the Army 
Ground Forces Equipment Review Board 
was submitted injune 1945. It carried fur- 
ther a less drastic plan prepared by the 
General Staff in 1940, revived in 1941, and 
then dropped as impractical, to centralize 
all Army research and development in a 
War Department Technical Committee, 
which, it had been hoped, would hasten 
standardization of new items and at the 
same time provide sound doctrines of tacti- 
cal employment. 67 The 1945 report flatly 

83 (1) AGF Study 34, pp. 40, 43, 45-31, OHF. (2) 
R&D. Tanks, pp. 1 A203-76, OHF. (3) Barne s Diary 
25 Feb 44; 2 Mar 44; 2 Aug 44, OHF. (4) See |Ch. X,| 

liJ (1) Addendum to OCM 19845, 4 Mar 43. (2) 
Barnes Diary. 13 Mar 43 and 29 Sep 43, OIIF. (3) 
3d Ind, ASF for CofOrd, 4 Nov 43, sub: 90-mm. 
Gun Motor Carriage T71. OO 472.14/74. DRB 

'•' Barnes Diarv. 13 Apr 43. OHF. 

(1) Ibid., 8 Mar 44, and 6 Apr 44. OHF. (2) 
OCM 24677. 10 Aug 44: OCM 24857. 24 Aug 44: 
OCM 2 8165. 28 Jun 45. 
Scc |Ch. X.| below. 

(1) Memo. Col Barnes for Gen McFarland. Chief 
of Ord Mil Serv. 9 Feb 40. sub: Research and Devel- 
opment for Ord Dept. R&D Misc. Barnes file. OHF. 
(2) Ltr. TACJ to CofOrd, 2 Jan 41, and 1st Ind, 
CofOrd to TAG. 9 Jan 41. sub: AR 850-25, OO 
300.3/28. DRB AGO. (3) Barnes Diary. 29 Jul 41; 
30 Jul 41; 13 Arte 41; 23 Sep 41: OHF. 


stated the necessity of vesting control of all 
development of ground force weapons in 
the hands of the Ground Forces. "This 
would necessitate the creation in Army 
Ground Forces of development groups 
organized on a functional basis and staffed 
by users, technicians and civilian special- 
ists." 6S In his reply the Chief of Ordnance 
repeated his department's conviction that 
acceptance of this plan would bring disas- 
ter. 69 No steps were taken to put the AGF 
recommendations into effect. 

Relations with Theatres of Operations 

Theoretically, the Ordnance research 
and development staff had no direct rela- 
tions with overseas theatres during the 
war. The theatre Ordnance officer at- 
tached to each theatre headquarters was 
the liaison between Office, Chief of Ord- 
nance, and combat troops, and his reports 
were expected to supply comment and 
criticisms of ordnance in action. Informa- 
tion on enemy equipment might also be 
transmitted by military intelligence to the 
G-2 Division of the General Staff and 
thence to the Ordnance Department. But 
the system entailed delays, and before mid- 
1943 reports often lacked the specific data 
designers needed. Distance was inescapa- 
bly an obstacle and the chain of command 
was another. Proposals to dispatch special 
Ordnance observers to European combat 
zones early in 1940 had been vetoed by 
G-2. In 1943 the first Ordnance Technical 
Intelligence units sent to overseas theatres 
were not welcome — they added to prob- 
lems of bill-eting and feeding without mak- 
ing any immediate contribution to com- 
bat. 70 While later they became an accepted 
part of the intelligence system and assem- 
bled invaluable data, throughout the war 
the Chief of Ordnance — and chiefs of the 

other technical services as well — felt ham- 
pered by faulty communications with the 
theatres. 71 The surest, quickest way of get- 
ting essential information proved to be an 
unofficial avoidance of "channels" and 
recourse to personal letters from officers on 
overseas duty directly to the Chief of Ord- 
nance or the chief of the Research and 
Development Service. Both officers relied 
upon this correspondence to supplement 
official communications. 

Problems of Standardization and Limited 

Two problems, be it repeated, were ever 
present for the Ordnance research and de- 
velopment staff — the problem of devising 
materiel that would counter any develop- 
ments of the enemy and then the problem 
of getting new models approved in time to 
be of real use in combat. Knowledge of 
enemy ordnance and of what Allied troops 
needed to more than match it depended 
upon the adequacy of military intelligence. 
The working of the military intelligence 
system, and particularly of Ordnance 
Technical Intelligence and the Enemy 
Equipment Intelligence teams, will be dis- 
cussed later. 72 There remain to be exam- 
ined here the consequences of the time lag 
between the establishment of a require- 
ment and the moment when combat troops 

*** Rpt of AGF Equipment Review Bd. 20 Jun 45. 
p. 2, OHF. 

"* Ltr, CofOrd to ASF, 20 Sep 45, sub: WD Equip- 
ment Review Bd, OO 234/9289. DRB AGO. 

: " Min, Wesson Conferences, 13 Mar 40, 21 Mar 
40. and 27 Mar 40, OHF. ( 2) Hist of Tech Intel Orgn. 
Unit "A," USAFIME. OHF. 

71 The Chief of Engineers, for example, complained 
of not getting information from the theatres and late 
in the war arranged with the chief engineer in the 
ETO to send reports directly to him. Interv, 25 Jul 
50, with Brig fi eri Peril K Moore, Chief Engr ETO. 

' - See below, Ch. IX. | 



had in hand the new or improved weapon 
filling the need. Even when the research 
and development staff had detailed infor- 
mation from combat zones and, acting 
upon it, produced a design calculated to 
meet the want effectively, months or years 
might elapse before the innovation was 
accepted by the service boards for stand- 
ardization. Standardization ceased in the 
latter part of the war to be a preliminary 
to use of new items in battle, but before 
late 1943 it generally was, for the AGF was 
long opposed on principle to sending 
materiel into combat that had not received 
the stamp of approval of the testing boards 
in the United States. Furthermore, with- 
out standardization of a weapon, quantity 
production was difficult to contrive. 

Review of the official peacetime proce- 
dures for acceptance of new equipment 
may clarify the problem. Once standard- 
ization was achieved, the responsibility of 
the Research and Development Service for 
a particular item ended. It should be 
noted, however, that even under the pres- 
sure of war it took months after an article 
was standardized to compute quantities 
required, negotiate production contracts, 
complete manufacture, and distribute the 
finished product to the fighting forces. The 
latter processes could not be greatly hur- 
ried. 73 It was in the stages preceding large- 
scale procurement that the Ordnance 
Department hoped to expedite matters in 
World War II by telescoping or skipping 
altogether some of the ten steps prescribed 
for standardization. 

Of these ten steps the first five were un- 
avoidable and the first four usually taken 
rapidly. First came the decision, approved 
by G-4 of the General Staff, that a specific 
need for a new or improved item existed. 
Second was the statement of the military 
characteristics that the article must have 

in order to accomplish its purpose; physi- 
cal characteristics such as weight, length, 
and width, were listed only when they 
affected the military usefulness of the item. 
This statement was drawn up by a board 
of officers of the using arm. An Ordnance 
officer represented the Department on 
each board. The third step was the formal 
initiation of a development program, a 
procedure handled by the Ordnance Tech- 
nical Committee. The committee assigned 
to the project a classification, designating 
its type, nomenclature, and later a model 
or T number. Before 1942 the War De- 
partment had to approve classification; 
thereafter Army Service Forces assumed 
that function. Classification changed dur- 
ing the course of development. Originally 
labeled "required type," an experimental 
model was further identified in later stages 
as "development type." 74 Still later, when 
variations of a basic model of a develop- 
ment type were called for, the differenti- 
ations were marked by E numbers. Thus a 
series of experimental tanks might be des- 
ignated T26E2, T26E3, and T26E4. Fol- 
lowing the first official classification, the 
project was turned over to the appropriate 
unit of the Research and Development 
Service to work out. Study of the problem 
might have to be protracted to explore 
alternative methods of attaining the de- 
sired result. In designing and building a 
first sample or pilot model, scientists, 
draftsmen, engineers, and technicians 
might collaborate for years. When a model 
embodying the stipulated military charac- 
teristics was developed and ready for its 

7,1 The complexities or those procedures, which fol- 
lowed the completion of the research and develop- 
ment task, are analyzed in Thomson and Mayo, 
Procurement and Supply of Munitions, MS, OHF. 

71 "Required type" was also part of the classifica- 
tion of an item when it was formally accepted. It then 
became "required type, adopted type." 



first tests, its complete classification was 
"required type, development type, experi- 
mental type." 

The next five steps in peacetime tended 
to be long drawn out, as the tests upon the 
semiautomatic rifle in the 1920's and 
1930's show. First the men who had de- 
signed and built the pilot model subjected 
it to a series of engineering tests. Each 
component had to correspond to the speci- 
fications. A model that met these require- 
ments was then labeled "service-test type" 
and was ready for the next process — serv- 
ice testing. Service tests, conducted by a 
board under control of the using arm or 
occasionally by troops in the field, were to 
determine the suitability of the equipment 
for combat in the hands of ordinary sol- 
diers. These tests almost always revealed 
hidden defects, parts too weak for service- 
ability, instruments inconveniently placed, 
interference of a control device with oper- 
ating mechanisms, and the like. Ordnance 
engineers then undertook modifications of 
the original design to correct these faults. 
Even in so relatively simple a weapon as 
the carbine, service tests produced a list 
of modifications required for acceptance 
ranging in importance from knurling of 
the butt plate to redesign of the rear 
sight. 75 Modifications might run into the 
hundreds in complicated pieces such as 
tanks and artillery. Service tests of the 
modified models followed until the service 
boards pronounced them ready for ex- 
tended service tests. Items such as the 
carbine might be accepted without ex- 
tended service tests, but major items were 
usually tested by tactical units in order to 
gauge performance under more rigorous 
trial than the service boards could effect. 
For these tests production in some quantity 
was necessary and the equipment procured 
was classified as "limited procurement 

type" within the broader classification of 
"development type." The manufacture of 
the first "limited procurement type" 
models gave the producer experience and 
enabled him to eliminate production bugs. 

The final step was largely a formality. 
If the extended service tests proved the 
item satisfactory, the Ordnance Commit- 
tee recommended standardization and the 
General Staff, or after 1942 the Army Serv- 
ice Forces, approved it. The article then 
became an "adopted type" and received 
an M number and name by which it was 
entered on the standard nomenclature lists. 
Items less satisfactory than standard items 
might be classified as "substitute standard" 
and procured merely to supplement supply. 
Equipment formerly standard but now 
superseded by new was often classified as 
"limited standard" so that it could be used 
in the field until the supply was exhausted. 
When equipment was no longer consid- 
ered suitable for its original purpose, it 
was classified as either obsolescent or obso- 
lete. The latter was withdrawn from serv- 
ice as rapidly as possible. 

Reducing the time consumed from the 
beginning to the end of the development 
process had to be done largely in the test- 
ing stages. It is true that the AGF proposal 
to have development carried on under the 
aegis of the arm laying down the essential 
military characteristics of a new weapon 
was clearly aimed at eliminating waste 
efforts early in the game by preventing the 
designer from proceeding with a model in 
which the most important features were 
sacrificed to less important. The Ordnance 
Department, on the other hand, believed 
the solution of that problem lay not in 
relinquishing development work to the 
user but in obliging him to stipulate the 

; ' OCM 17278, 30 Sep 41. 



alternative he considered preferable when 
it must be either/ or. If, for example, the 
Armored Forces wanted tanks with power- 
ful guns and great maneuverability, they 
must rate heavy armor protection as of 
secondary importance. 70 

Closer collaboration before drafting- 
board work was completed and a first pilot 
model built, more careful consultation be- 
tween Ordnance policymakers and Ord- 
nance engineers, might sometimes have 
saved time. Still more important was the 
role of the Ordnance member of the serv- 
ice board drawing up the statement of de- 
sired military characteristics of a new item. 
Building a sample incorporating unac- 
ceptable features could usually be avoided 
if this Ordnance officer were at once a 
competent engineer and a salesman skill- 
ful enough to persuade the board to 
request what the Ordnance Department 
believed feasible and essential features of 
design. Much depended upon his adroit- 
ness and ability. Unhappily, as the war 
wore on, the ideas of the service boards did 
not always coincide with those of combat 
troops overseas, but that was a complica- 
tion the Ordnance Department could not 
resolve. 77 Nevertheless, in developing most 
new items, when time was lost needlessly 
it was in the course of service testing, 
modifying, retesting, and extended serv- 
ice testing. If, instead of being submitted 
to prolonged tests against dummy targets 
in the United States, new materiel could 
be shipped to the active theatres for battle 
trial, then, the Ordnance Department con- 
tended, a dual purpose would be served: 
the research and development staff would 
have indisputable proof of weaknesses 
and strong points of the new equipment 
under real, not simulated, combat condi- 
tions, and the armies in the field would 
have the use of weapons usable even if far 

from faultless. Later modifications could 
be made with greater certainty. 

Here was a variation of the Ordnance 
pleas of the 1930's protesting the refusal 
of the War Department to standardize 
materiel until it was as nearly perfect as 
possible. Ordnance engineers concurred in 
Colonel Studler's statement of 1940: "The 
best is the enemy of the good." 7S But after 
Pearl Harbor official standardization was 
not the point at issue. It was the battle 
testing of T models. The AGF had some 
reasons for opposing the shipment to over- 
seas theatres of materiel not yet wholly 
proved. The scarcity of cargo space early 
in the war was one; the possible infringe- 
ment of Ground Forces control over tables 
of equipment was another; danger to the 
user, most compelling reason of all, was a 
third. 79 A failure of a new item to accom- 
plish in battle what it was intended to do 
might cost far more than loss of time. The 
Ordnance Department's job, the AGF 
argued, was to develop, manufacture, and 
issue battleworthy munitions; it should not 
expect the using arms to risk the success of 
their mission — fighting — to prove the ade- 
quacy of the Ordnance Department's per- 
formance. General McNair repeatedly 
objected to issuing materiel possessing 

IB See pers Itr. Maj Gen Ernest N, Harmon, CG 
XXII Armv Corps, to Gen Campbell. 10 Feb 45, 
Campbell file, OHF. 

7T Intervs, 22 Sep 50, with Col Studlcr, Chief Small 
Arms Sec, and with Col Richard Z. Crane, Chief Arty 
Sec. R& DServ. 

" s See |Ch. VH.I above. 

7!l The Ordnance Department was quite as intent 
as the using arms upon issuing only safe items. An 
example is General Barnes' refusal to release the 
bazooka in June 1942. although War Department offi- 
cials and British and Soviet witnesses of its first 
demonstration were eager to ge t a considerable num- 

ber immediately. See 



22 Nov 49, with Gregorv 1 
Sec OCO. 


below. See also interv, 
essenich. Chief. Patent 



even minor defects of design. 80 Moreover, 
battle testing small quantities of a new 
device introduced the hazard of giving the 
enemy a chance to develop countermeas- 
ures before a successful new weapon could 
be fully exploited in large-scale attacks. 

This line of reasoning was doubtless in 
keeping with the caution of American field 
commanders upon which German officers 
repeatedly commented. German military 
procedures from the beginning of the war 
followed the course the Ordnance Depart- 
ment wanted to pursue. Experimental 
tanks and weapons were committed to 
front-line action as soon as they could be 
supplied to a tactical unit. Combat deter- 
mined the modifications to be made in 
later German models. 81 

Fortunately, in time, American theatre 
commanders realized that by requesting 
experimental items for special tactical op- 
erations they could get at least small lots 
of materiel not yet standardized. Here a 
major difficulty naturally lay in getting to 
the theatres knowledge of what new de- 
velopments in the zone of the interior were 
available upon request. Late in 1943 the 
desperate urgency of throwing into battle 
every kind of equipment designed not for 
warfare as fought in 1918, but as American 
soldiers were fighting it in the jungles of 
the Pacific and against the ingenious and 
tenacious German armies in Italy, brought 
about an innovation in procedures. The 
creation of the New Developments Divi- 
sion of the General Staff in October 1943 
was the first step. Its duties included 
arranging demonstrations of new items to 
theatre commanders and supervising 
technical and scientific research and de- 
velopment missions in the theatres. Ship- 
ment of "limited procurement" items, 
largely begun with the Borden mission to 
investigate theatre needs for jungle war- 

fare weapons, mounted steadily after 1943 
though before that October limited pro- 
curement had been authorized in a very 
few instances. 82 Technical bulletins to ac- 
company these experimental weapons were 
issued by Ordnance Field Service, and 
teams of instructors to teach troops how to 
use the new devices were sent abroad in 
increasing numbers. 83 An extension of the 
duties of the New Developments Division 
in August 1944 was significant: "Review 
[of] requirements for special or exceptional 
items whose future application can be 
foreseen, but for which the theatres of op- 
erations . . . have not established a 
requirement." 84 

Meanwhile, General Barnes had found 
a way to inform both the General Staff 
and the theatre commanders of ordnance 
T models obtainable, if asked for. Using 
the advertising principle that demand can 
best be created by publicizing the means 
of satisfying a want, Research and Devel- 
opment Service in the spring of 1944 be- 
gan to issue a series of descriptive illus- 
trated booklets on development items 
considered ready for combat trial. These 

s " (1) Interv with Gen Scott, Armored Force, 21 
Feb 50. (2) Memo, Gen McNair for Gen Somervell, 
12 Apr 43, sub: Heavv Field Artillery, 472/108 
GNDCG (3-15-43). (3) Barnes Diary, 28 Jul 43, 29 
Jul 43, and 4 Sep 43 O HF 

81 (1) See |Chs. ix| and[x[ below. (2) H. M. Cole, 
The Lorraine Campaign (Washington, 1950), Ch. XIV. 
(3) Panzer Lehr Brigade 900 at Smolensk, 1941, MS 
#• D-294, OCMH. 

82 (1) WD Cir 267, 25 Oct 43. (2) OD Activities in 
Limited Procurement 1941-1944, OHF. The list of 
limited procurement items before October 1943 
included a few experimental fuzes and other ammu- 
nition development, two fuze setters, two tank tele- 
scopes, and a 90-mm. antiaircraft gun mount. 

s: < The first technical bulletin to be issued for a non- 
standard weapon was for the Grenade Launcher 
Sight, T59, sent to the Pacific in October 1943. 
Interv, 20 Sep 50, with Fordyce Edwards, Chief 
Publications Sec, FS. 

^ WD Cir 333, 15 Aug 44. 



"kangaroos" or "matchfolders," so nick- 
named because they fitted readily into a 
pocket, were printed in some quantity and 
dispatched overseas with demonstration 
teams or Ordnance officers departing for 
a theatre. 85 Within the zone of the interior 
officers of the using arms as well as the 
General Staff got the matchfolders. How 
large a part these booklets played in creat- 
ing theatre demands for experimental 
items may be problematical. In some cases 
the matchfolders probably reached divi- 
sion or even company officers who, other- 
wise unaware of the existence of the new 
device, could then request a chance to try 
it in action. Certainly information on T 
models was disseminated far more widely 
by these folders than formerly.*" 3 By the 
spring of 1945 new weapons under limited 
procurement numbered 141, and new am- 
munition items 76. 87 While not all of these 
were tried in combat, enough were to 
make battle testing a generally accepted 

Even standardized equipment was sub- 
ject to field modifications overseas as ex- 
perience showed a weakness correctable 
on the spot. An example was the installa- 
tion of a turret lock on the light armored 
car in order to hold the turret in position 
when traveling. The change was devised 
in the theatre, and a drawing was pre- 
pared at theatre headquarters and circu- 
lated to the officers and depot companies 
concerned and then OCO-Detroit was 
notified. ss Later, changes such as this 
might be incorporated in new production 
models manufactured in the United States. 
Improvisations in the field to meet unfore- 
seen combat conditions were numerous 
and sometimes of considerable permanent 
value. Si ' Here official approval was usually 
obtained long after the innovation had 
served its purpose. 

Frequently a weapon first sent into 
combat as a T model was standardized 
soon afterward, but some materiel re- 
mained on limited procurement through- 
out the war. Thus the multiple rocket 
launchers for 4.5-inch and 7.2-inch 
rockets, both used in the European and 
Pacific theatres in late 1944 and 1945, 
were not approved for standardization, 
though the Ordnance Department would 
have welcomed their official acceptance. 
In other cases the Research and Develop- 
ment Service preferred to keep as long as 
possible the closer control of manufacture 
that limited procurement permitted. The 
57-mm, and 75-mm, recoilless rifles conse- 
quently kept their T numbers until the 
summer of 1945, in spite of their satisfac- 
tory performance during the spring in 
Germany and on Luzon and Okinawa. 
The development of the recoilless rifle was 
an exception to many rules: no require- 
ment was established and no Ordnance 
Committee Minutes prepared until after 
the Small Arms Section of the Research 
and Development Service had built a 
workable model and successfully fired it in 
a demonstration at Aberdeen. The fait 
accompli created the requirement. 90 Only 
where materiel was excessively bulky, 
complex, and expensive did AGF reluc- 

" (1) Kangaroo file, OHF. (2) Inter*-. 3 Oct 50, 
with F. Gordon Barber, Developments Vizualization 
Aid Sec. R&D Sen-. 1944-45. 

Sli That some of these booklets were prepared pri- 
marily to promote "sales" is shown by the folder on 
the medium T25F.1 and heavy T26E1 tanks. In this 
a sizable part of the brief text is dedicated to urging 
increased limited procurement orders. Kangaroo file, 

" 1 Limited Procurement Supplement to Catalogue 
of Standard Ord Items, 1 Mar 45, DRB AGO. 

#s ET O Ord Tech Bull 53. 12 Jun44, DRB AGO. 
Sa Ser |Ch. X| below. 

:i " (1) Intrrv with Col Studler. 22 Sep 50. (21 OCM 
22989. 24 Feb 44: OCM 28073. 21 Jun 45; OCM 
28547, 26 Jul 45. 


tance to sanction battle testing endure. Yet 
even the 46-ton General Pershing tank 
eventually was sent to the European thea- 
tre for battle trial before standardization. 
Just as the reason for setting up Research 
and Development as a separate operating 
division in the Ordnance Department had 
been the necessity of speeding the develop- 
ment process to get improved equipment 

to the battle fields as fast as possible, 
so Research and Development Service 
learned quickly to cut through red tape. 
A broad interpretation of what limited 
procurement meant opened the way for 
the research and development staff to do 
its job well. H1 

See AR 850-25. 


Competition and Collaboration 
With Foreign Designers 

Most wars are won by outwitting the 
enemy or by overpowering him with sheer 
mass of materiel and men. Only rarely in 
history has an army been so imbued with 
confidence in itself or with faith in the 
righteousness of its cause that it triumphed 
over heavy odds. Germany in 1939 and 
1940 had established itself as the greatest 
military power in the world, a power 
whose tactics were brilliant and whose 
weapons appeared to be the most effective 
men had ever seen. Though the American 
public even in 1940 was still hoping that 
the United States might keep out of the 
European war, the U.S. Army was hur- 
riedly building up its strength in men and 
equipment to be in a position to defy this 
pow r er. That challenge meant for the Ord- 
nance Department two primary tasks — 
putting into the hands of American and 
Allied troops the greatest possible quantity 
of materiel, and having available weapons 
equal to or better than those of the enemy. 

The story of quantity production will 
be told in another volume of this series. 
Quality was first and foremost a problem 
of research and development. The suc- 
ceeding chapters of this volume will dis- 
cuss the equipment that the Ordnance 
Department developed for the U.S. Army 
in comparison with the major items the 
enemy employed. To explain how differ- 

ences and similarities came about, it is 
necessary at this point to look briefly at 
the circumstances that enabled the Third 
Reich to equip its army as it did; to review 
the limitations imposed upon the U.S. 
Ordnance Department; to trace the steps 
by which the Ordnance Department after 
1940 learned the essential features of 
enemy designs; and to note how the United 
States and its allies pooled scientific and 
technical data in the ceaseless search for 
weapons superior to any the enemy could 

Ordnance Research and Development 
in the German Army 

For the Ordnance Department, compe- 
tition with foreign designers meant pri- 
marily competition with Germany. Italy 
never loomed as a serious contender in the 
struggle for superiority of weapons, while 
Japanese equipment, largely imitative of 
American and European design, was ad- 
mittedly inferior to both in quality. Not 
Japanese engineering genius but nature 
posed the most serious challenge in the 
Pacific where topography, jungle growth, 
mildew, and corrosion, rather than enemy 
fire power or armor, were likely to neutral- 
ize the effectiveness of American materiel. 
A quite different contest unfolded with the 



senior partner of the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo 
Axis. Traditionally well versed in the art 
of ordnance design and able to draw on a 
vast pool of capable scientists, technicians, 
and skilled labor, Germany was a com- 
petitor who time and again threatened to 
outstrip the United States in the race for 
putting deadlier and more efficient weap- 
ons in the hands of the fighting forces. 

In little over twenty years Germany had 
risen from crushing defeat to be the might- 
iest military power in the world. The lim- 
itations that the victorious Allies of World 
War I had imposed in the hope of forever 
preventing Germany's resurgence as a 
threat to world peace had had precisely 
the opposite effect. To quote a statement 
attributed to Generaloberst Franz Haider, 
the German Army Chief of Staff from 1938 
to 1942, "Germany, as a result of the pro- 
visions of the Versailles Treaty, had to dis- 
arm and thus denude itself of everything 
reminiscent of the first World War. Ger- 
many consequently started from the most 
elementary beginnings, unencumbered, 
and thereby had a distinct advantage over 
the Allies who clung to many things that 
no longer were in tune with the changed 
times." 1 To forestall misunderstandings, it 
is well to point out that the divorce from 
the past was in the realm of tactical doc- 
trine rather than of technology. Advanced 
tactical thinking, not superweapons and 
mountains of materiel, made the German 

To understand how Germany in 1939, 
a bare four years after formally renounc- 
ing its obligations under the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles, was able to put into the field an 
army so well trained and equipped that it 
held virtually the entire world at bay 
necessitates at least cursory examination 
of the secret rearmament activities during 
the interwar period. To begin with, large 

quantities of weapons that should have 
been scrapped or delivered up to the Allies 
were carefully cached by the Army, the 
Navy, and an armaments industry, all 
eager to save what they could. In May 
1919 the Army issued orders to spirit all 
fully usable materiel as well -as certain 
semimanufactured parts out of zones likely 
to come under Allied occupation. At least 
one of the participants in that operation, 
the Friedrich Krupp Aktiengesellschaft of 
cannon fame, reported that by August, 
little over a month after Versailles, its 
shipments to the interior ceased because 
"the demand had been met." Among the 
more noteworthy items for this particular 
producer were — shades of things to 
come — parts for two types of 88-mm. flak 
guns.- As an interesting sidelight, the guid- 
ing genius behind the Army's effort to 
amass a hoard of weapons against the day 
of Germany's return to power reputedly 
was Capt. Ernst Roehm, later the notori- 
ous chief of Adolf Hitler's storm troopers, 
who was to meet his end in the blood purge 
of June 1934. The success of his undertak- 
ing can be gauged by the statement that 
one third of the materiel that the Army 
needed and procured after the Fuehrer's 
accession consisted of Roehm's trophies 
from World War I. 3 

Hand in hand with the salvage of this 
important, though relatively small, store of 

1 Peter Bor, Gespraeche mit Haider (Wiesbaden, 
1950), p. 144. 

- NI-9041 , Die Abteilung Artillerie- Konstruktiotien tier 
Fried. Krupp A.G. u. die Rntwicklung von Heeresgeschuet- 
Zen von November 1918 bis 1933, a historical MS com- 
piled by the Friedrich Krupp Aktiengesellschaft, 
Essen, in 1941 (hereafter cited as Krupp MS), Nuern- 
burg Military Tribunals (Subsequent Proceedings), 
German Military Documents Section (hereafter cited 

:i (1) Bor, Gespraeche mit Haider, p. 103. (2) Ernst 
Rochm, Die Ceschichte eines Hochverraeters (Muenchen, 
1928), pp. 113-18. 



forbidden ordnance went the more vital 
task of developing new items. If Germany 
failed to keep step with developments of 
foreign powers, it could never hope to re- 
gain what it considered its rightful place 
in the sun. Within Germany such work 
was severely handicapped by the necessity 
for stringent secrecy. Nevertheless, a great 
deal was accomplished through dummy 
business firms that ostensibly engaged in 
peaceful commercial or technical pursuits 
while in reality devoting themselves ex- 
clusively to weapons research and develop- 
ment. A Krupp branch office in Berlin was 
only one of several enterprises functioning 
as a blind of this sort. Disguised as part of 
a legitimate engineering company, the 
Krupp branch designed artillery carriages, 
among them modern mobile carriages for 
the very guns that another concern was 
then in the process of modifying for sta- 
tionary coastal employment as prescribed 
by treaty terms. 4 While such illicit activi- 
ties inside Germany were largely restricted 
to theory, no similar hurdles stood in the 
way of practical research and develop- 
ment abroad. Krupp's co-operation with 
Bofors in Sweden was a case in point. In 
return for license rights to certain steel 
and artillery patents, employees of the 
German firm were given unlimited access 
to plant facilities and technical informa- 
tion on current developments. From 1921 
to 1935 a delegation of Krupp experts at- 
tached to the Swedish munitions firm kept 
a steady stream of information flowing 
back to their employer, who in turn 
promptly advised the Reichswehr. Under 
the sponsorship of Krupp German officers 
went on inspection tours to Bofors to wit- 
ness test firings of the latest in artillery and 
ammunition. 5 

Most important of all, and in a sense 
most extraordinary, were the war prep- 

arations of the Reichswehr itself. At the 
same time that the fatherland publicly 
bemoaned its reduction to military im- 
potence, the hard core of German sol- 
diery's elite, the officers of the 100,000- 
man army, ceaselessly worked toward 
building an even better war machine than 
the one that had come so close in 1 9 1 8 to 
worsting a global host of opponents. These 
were the men who evolved the special 
brand of mechanized and mobile warfare 
that the world, in a later vocabulary, was 
to know as the blitzkrieg, Economic and 
industrial mobilization as well as military 
training for a future war of liberation were 
studied, planned, and partially put into 
practice with meticulous detail. As early 
as 1924 the Army Weapons Office set up 
an economic mobilization staff for the 
ambitious, albeit later substantially scaled- 
down, project of marshaling the resources 
for an armed force comprising 63 Infantry, 
5 Cavalry, and 30 Frontier Guard divi- 
sions. Since the need for secrecy prevented 
direct contact with industry, which would 
have to produce the arms and equipment 
for that army, a nationwide underground 
organization served to procure the re- 
quired data for integrating essential manu- 

1 Krupp MS, GMDS DRB AGO. 

' Ibid. German Army diehards, to be sure, believed 
that Krupp and other big industrial leaders were 
initially not co-operative enough. A historical report 
entitled Die Enlwicklung der Dienstslelle fuer Wehrwirl- 
schaft in Waffenamt 1924-1933 (hereafter referred to as 
German Secret Rearmement 1924-33) states that one 
of the difficulties encountered in secret industrial mo- 
bilization measures before 1933 was "the indifference 
of numerous industrialists toward the problems of na- 
tional defense, their lack of faith in the restoration of 
Germany's (military] strength, or their fear of econ- 
omic damage in foreign business connections . . . ." 
It cited Krupp as belonging to that category. See Ger- 
man Secret Rearmament 1924-33, OCMH. This his- 
torical report, comprising documents and excerpts 
from captured files of the Feldwirtschaftsamt , was com- 
piled by the Foreign Office. London, in 1945. 



facturing facilities into the over-all plan. 11 
But all the staff planning, research, de- 
velopment, and industrial preparation 
could be of no avail in the absence of 
highly trained combat forces capable of 
translating the newly evolved tactics and 
techniques into practice. Here the Reichs- 
wehr encountered its most serious difficul- 
ties. Its forces were severely limited in 
number, and the primary weapons for the 
new type of warfare — the tank and the 
military airplane — were prohibited by 
treaty. Within Germany, armored train- 
ing was restricted to tin-and-pasteboard 
dummy tanks, and flight training to oc- 
casional highly secretive excursions with 
flimsy sport aircraft. If the future army 
was to be built on more solid foundations 
than these, the Army had to find more 
favorable ground than blighted Germany. 
And so began a long and fruitful period of 
collaboration with a power similarly intent 
on rebuilding its military establishment: 
the Soviet Union. 

The exact time of the commencement of 
Russo-German military collaboration can- 
not be determined, though subsequent 
events lend credence to the belief that 
secret clauses in the Treaty of Rapallo in 
1922 represented the cornerstone of the 
subsequent rapprochement between the Red 
Army and the Reichswehr. 7 Each country 
had something valuable to offer the other. 
The Germans had their highly skilled 
cadre of military leaders, steeped in an 
intellectual tradition, who could teach the 
new class of Soviet officers the doctrines of 
tactical and strategic command. Men like 
Tukhachevski and Ogorevitch partici- 
pated in inspection tours and war games 
and studied German manuals to the point 
where they finally were more familiar 
with the contents than their German col- 
leagues. With a view to securing for its 

armament factories such unimpeded prog- 
ress as would some day benefit not only 
the Soviet Union but also the fatherland, 
the Germans similarly contributed to the 
rejuvenation of Russian industry. 8 German 
technicians, engineers, and skilled me- 
chanics went east to teach and supervise. 
The Reichswehr set up in the Soviet Union 
entire munitions plants that were man- 
aged and largely or wholly staffed with 
Germans. 9 Lack of money, the stumbling 
block in American ordnance research and 
development during the 1920's and 1930's, 
was hardly a consideration. Only secrecy 
was of the essence, and, assured of the dis- 
creet handling of rearmament matters, the 
German Government did its best to pad 
budgets and hide appropriations for mili- 
tary expenditures. 1 " 

In return for contributions toward 
strengthening Soviet power, the Russians 
furnished Germany with the very facilities 
for practical troop training that could 
not be maintained within the Reich. Be- 
tween 1924 and 1930 three German mili- 
tary installations were set up on Soviet 
territory: a fighter pilot and air observer 
school at Lipetsk, a gas warfare school at 
Saratov, and an armored school at Kazan. 
The secrecy surrounding the entire setup, 
and the security measures for insuring that 

8 German Secret Rearmament, 1924-33, OCMII. 

" (1) MS. The Reichswehr and Soviet Russia, Gen- 
eral der Fliegcr Wilhclm Spcidel (hereafter cited as 
MS # P-043 (Speidel)), OCMH. (2) Leonhard 
Shapiro, ed., Soviet Treaty Series (Washington, 1950), 
I, 381-83. 

* MS # P-043 (Speidel), OCMH. 

" MS, Erinnerungen, Feldmarschall Walter von 
Blomberg, GMDSDRB AGO. 

'" (1) MS # P-043 (Speidel), OCMH. (2) MS, Ad- 
miralty Translation of the [German] Navy's Battle 
Against the Treaty of Versailles, OCMH. (3) Wlady- 
slaw Wszebor Kulski (pseud. W. M. Knight-Patter- 
son), Germany from Defeat to Conquest (London, 1945), 
pp. 394-407. (4) Cecil F. Melville, The Russian Face of 
Germany (London, 1932), pp. 124-28. 



secrecy, bordered on the fantastic. Men 
and machines had to be bootlegged across 
the frontiers. Ammunition and weapons 
impossible to disguise were carried in 
small sailboats all the way from German 
Baltic ports to Leningrad. German soldiers 
killed in accidents while training on 
Soviet soil were smuggled back in coffins 
packed in boxes ostensibly containing 
machine parts. Particularly knotty prob- 
lems were solved in even more unusual 
ways. The fighter planes used at the 
Lipetsk air base, for example, had been 
purchased abroad and were powered by 
British engines that could not be over- 
hauled locally. With their sailboat sea 
transport organization, the Germans man- 
aged to send a certain number of engines 
each year to English factories where they 
were overhauled and subsequently re- 
turned to Lipetsk. 11 

The number of trainees at the several 
schools varied, as did local conditions of 
independence from Soviet interference. At 
Lipetsk the German fliers had practically 
unlimited freedom of movement, while the 
tank students at Kazan apparently were 
subject to a more rigid regime restricting 
them to a fenced-in cantonment and even 
requiring them to wear Red Army uni- 
forms. Nevertheless, professional relations 
with the Russian hosts were generally 
satisfactory and the Germans, despite nu- 
merous complaints that they gave more 
than they received, accomplished what 
they had come for. German officers par- 
ticipated in Red Army maneuvers; Ger- 
man Air observers conducted joint exer- 
cises with the Red Air Force; German 
tankers learned the refinements of armored 
warfare and tested equipment such as the 
latest experimental models of Krupp 
tanks. A small but select body of military 
leaders, including, among others, Heinz 

Guderian of later panzer fame, gathered 
a wealth of practical experience in the 
warfare of tomorrow. 12 When, upon the 
accession of Hitler in 1933, German activi- 
ties in the Soviet Union gradually ceased 
because of the steadily mounting open re- 
militarization in Germany itself, a highly 
trained cadre stood ready to take over the 
reins of a brand new army. 

German rearmament between 1935 and 
1939 marked the culmination of the pains- 
taking efforts to preserve the military tra- 
ditions of bygone years of glory and re- 
create a war machine that once more 
would command the respect, if not dread, 
of the world. After 1933 the production of 
up-to-date weapons had begun in earnest, 
with the accent on the mobility and strik- 
ing power of a well-integrated ground-air 
team. German tanks underwent a radical 
transformation. Their formerly wooden 
cannon suddenly spouted fire and their 
erstwhile make-believe armor gave way to 
steel plate. 13 By 1935 even the niceties of a 
pro forma adherence to treaty obligations 
were ready to be discarded and, along 
with the reintroduction of compulsory 
military service, the wraps taken off a 
well-equipped and even better organized 
army. It is worth remembering that at a 
time when America had not a single 
armored division and still considered the 
tank a mere adjunct and supporting 
weapon for the infantry, Germany started 
with the premise that the tank is a weapon 
in its own right — the primary offensive 
ground weapon, in fact, of mobile warfare. 
Slowing the tank to the rate of advance of 
foot troops or roadbound artillery would 

" MS # P-043 iSpeidel), OCMH. 
(1) Ibid. (2) Interrogation of Gen Ernst Koestring, 

l:i Heinz Guderian, Achtung — Panzer (Stuttgart, 
1937 ?), pp. 157- 58. 



slow an entire offensive, hostile forces 
would have time to regroup, and opera- 
tions might once again degenerate into 
position warfare in which the objective — 
forcing a quick decision by destroying the 
enemy army — could never be achieved. 
The logical procedure lay not in slowing 
down the tank but in motorizing support- 
ing infantry and artillery elements and 
welding all three into one unit capable of 
delivering a decisive blow in the very open- 
ing stage of hostilities. How correct these 
deliberations and conclusions had been 
was demonstrated in the well-nigh ridicu- 
lous ease with which the panzer divisions, 
rolling over the level terrain of northern 
Europe, subjugated Poland and France. 

In the United States, Germany's spec- 
tacular successes left an impression no less 
profound than in the rest of the world. For 
one thing, they provided the impetus to- 
ward the creation of the Armored Force 
for which a number of officers had been 
clamoring in vain for more than a decade. 
For another, they set the pace for a revision 
of combat techniques and corresponding 
basic reorganization of United States Army 
forces. But above all, the swiftness and 
thoroughness of German victories set up a 
clamor for more and better weapons. The 
Ordnance Department, only recently come 
from rags to riches, was expected to stamp 
new materiel out of the ground. "The 
enemy was at the gates and was about to 
land in New York City in the imagination 
of the hysterical people of that time . . . ," 
wrote the wartime Chief of Ordnance in 
speaking of those trying days. 14 A full- 
fledged myth was in the making about 
amounts and capabilities of German mate- 
riel in general and German tanks in par- 
ticular. While Germany on the eve of the 
Battle of France had a grand total of 3,379 
tanks, only 2,574 of which actually rolled 

westward on May 10, 15 French estimates, 
for example, pegged their number at any- 
where from a staggering 8,000 to a con- 
servative 3,700. 16 In reality, French tank 
strength alone almost certainly equaled, 
and, combined with British tanks on the 
Western Front, beyond a doubt surpassed 
the German total. 17 

Fully as fanciful were reports about the 
tanks themselves. An article stated: 

One weapon used by the Germans, the 
heavy break-through tank, came as a surprise 
to many — military men as well as civilians. 
. . . Then on May 10, 1940, German break- 
through tanks, estimated to weigh seventy 
tons, armed with 77mm or 155mm cannon 
and flame throwers, opened up a hole in the 
Little Maginot Line. Through this gap poured 
. . . massed armored divisions closely backed 
by infantry in trucks. The age of mechaniza- 
tion had come into its own. . . . ls 

Other accounts perpetuated the legend of 
"cannon-proof" panzers. 1 " But Germany 
neither had cannon-proof nor superheavy 
monsters. German machines held little, if 
any, edge over their adversaries in over-all 
combat capability. The majority of Ger- 
man tanks were of the Panzer I and Panzer 
II types that the Wehrmacht itself admitted 

14 Ltr, Gen Campbell to Gen Harmon, 2 1 Mar 45, 

15 MS # P-059, German Tank Strength and Loss 
Statistics, Generalmajor Burkhart Mueller-Hillebrand 
(hereafter cited as MS # P-059 (Mueller-Hille- 
brand)), OCMH. 

" ; Theodore Draper. The Six Weeks' War (New 
York, 1944), p. 47. The official data of the Vichy- 
French Ministry of War ran to 7,600. See Daniel Vil- 
froy, War in the West (Harrisburg, 1942), p. 23. 

17 Figures on French tanks in metropolitan France 
in 1940 vary from a low of 2,965 to a high of 3,615, 
while British tank strength is uniformly cited at 600. 
Cf. (1) Draper, op. at., pp. 47-48: (2) Vilfroy, op. cit., 
p. 23; and (3) Richard M. Ogorkiewicz, "Armor in 
Defeat.". Armor, LIX, 204 (1950), 16-23. 

'"Cape. C. R. Kutz, "Break-Through Tanks," 
Army Ordnance, XXI, 123 (1940), 242. 

,s ' See Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm 
(Boston, 1949) p. 476. 



to be useless against all but a weak and 
demoralized enemy and unsuited for em- 
ployment against hostile armor. 1 '" The six- 
ton Panzer I, for example, had been proved 
obsolete during the Civil War in Spain — 
obsolete not only as much as any produc- 
tion-type weapon is in terms of those in the 
drafting stage, but obsolete in terms of 
equipment currently in use by the opposi- 
tion. With "onionskin" armor and the fire 
power of only two turret-mounted machine 
guns, it was easy prey for Soviet 45-mm. 
tank and antitank guns on the Loyalist 
side. The contemporary characterization 
of the light tank as a "mechanical toy, a 
mere tactical runabout" fitted the Panzer I 
to the proverbial T.- 1 The 10-ton Panzer 
II, first issued to German armored forces in 
1936 but never sent to Spain, fell into the 
same category. 1 ' 2 The only material im- 
provements over its predecessor lay in 
slightly greater fire power, a 20-mm. can- 
non turret-mounted coaxially with one 
machine gun. 

The first-line tanks of the blitz days in 
France, the Panzer III and the Panzer IV, 
similarly were far from being super- 
weapons. Lightly armored, both were 
highly vulnerable to antitank and direct 
artillery fire. 23 As to armament, the Panzer 
III carried a 37-mm. gun, an adaptation 
of the same antitank gun that as far back 
as 1937 had proved to be outmatched by 
foreign materiel. 24 The Panzer IV, armed 
with the 75-mm. Kw. K. (L/24), a gun- 
howitzer with a maximum muzzle velocity 
of 1,500 feet per second, was more an 
armored field piece than a tank designed 
for toe-to-toe combat with enemy tanks.- 5 

All told, German successes in the early 
stages of World War II resulted from 
method of employment of weapons — 
panzer divisions versus single tanks, the 
heavy mobile punch versus a continuous 

front — and a highly proficient body of 
troops. From the days of the Reichswehr, 
attention had focused on training the 
individual German soldier; mechanization 
did not obscure the fact that even the best 
materiel becomes useless in the hands of 
men unable to use it properly. Once the 
peace-trained, battle-hardened core of the 
Wehrmacht languished in Allied prisoner- 
of-war enclosures, or lay buried beneath 
the Russian snows and North African 
desert sands, no effort of German weapons 
designers could stave off defeat. 

Design and development of Army ord- 
nance were in the hands of the Army 
Weapons Office. Though roughly analo- 
gous to the U.S. Army Ordnance Depart - 

2 " MS. The Private War Journal of Gencraloberst 
Franz Haider (hereafter cited as Haider Diary), entry 
for 18 Feb 40. OCMH. 

A breakdown of German tanks by type shows the 
following (1 April 1940): 

Panzer I 1,062 

Panzer II 1.079 

Panzer III 329 

Panzer IV 280 

Total 2,750 

The remaining 629 vehicles were: flame thrower tanks 
on Panzer II chassis (7); Czech-origin 35(t) and 38(t) 
tanks armed with 37-mm. guns (426): and command- 
ers' versions of Panzer I through IV armed only with 
machine guns (243). Self-propelled artillery and tank 
destroyers were as good as nonexistent at the time. 
MS # P-059 (Mueller-Hillebrand), OCMH. 

- 1 Maj. Gen. J. F. C. Fuller (British Army, Ret.) 
"The Tank in Spain," Army Ordnance, XIX, 109 
(1938), 25. 

-- Ol Special Interrogation Rpt 34, 4 Mar 47 
(hereafter cited as OI-SIR/34), OCMH. 


21 (1) Fuller, loc. at., p. 27. (2) Brig. Gen. Henry J. 
Reillv, "'Proving Ground in Spain," Army Ordnance, 
XIX,' 114 (1939), 334. 

The abbreviation Kw. K. stands for Kampfwagen- 
Kanone, literally battlewagon cannon. The abbrevia- 
tion L/24 expresses caliber length. In German prac- 
tice it denotes length of the gun including breech but 
excluding muzzle brake. One caliber length equals 
the diameter of the gun bore. Given that diameter 
and the number of caliber lengths, the length of the 
gun can readily be computed. 



ment in these functions, its scope of 
responsibilities extended to somewhat dif- 
ferent fields from those of its American 
counterpart. In addition to small arms, 
artillery, and ammunition, for example, 
the Army Weapons Office had charge of 
all types of engineer and signal equip- 
ment. Design and development of antiair- 
craft artillery, on the other hand, were 
duties of the Air Force. L ' s 

Within the over-all organization of the 
German Army, the Army Weapons Office 
came under the Chief of Army Equipment 
and Commander in Chief of the Replace- 
ment Army, who had charge of arms 
development as well as procurement. Con- 
trol over the commencement of new 
projects rested with the using arms, and, 
through them, the General Staff and ulti- 
mately Hitler. The impetus for a project 
might come from a number of quarters: 
the Army Weapons Office itself, the 
Fuehrer, private industry, soldiers in the 
field. Particularly the latter have been 
credited with submitting many useful ideas 
and constructive criticisms. 27 Once^a re- 
quirement was set up, the Army Weapons 
Office prepared the technical specifications 
and farmed out the development project 
to private industrial firms. As a rule, an 
identical contract was let to two competi- 
tors in order to add incentive for the design 
of the best product possible. Pilot models 
were returned to the Weapons Office for 
proof tests, upon completion of which the 
item was demonstrated to the using arms 
for their approval or rejection. Then usu- 
ally followed a limited, or, if necessary, a 
large-scale battle test. Standardization and 
further modifications thereafter were up to 
the using arms, subject, in the case of 
major questions, to the decision of the 
Commander in Chief of the Army or the 
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. 

During peacetime and the early blitz 
years that system worked well enough. But 
once the war spread to new and larger 
areas and the mounting fury of combat 
gave rise to an ever-increasing demand for 
more powerful weapons, the process of 
development grew more and more hap- 
hazard. The Fuehrer's promises of the mir- 
acle weapon to turn the tide became more 
eloquent as one abortive offensive followed 
the other, with the result that wholly un- 
seasoned projects were rushed virtually 
from the drafting board to the front. Time 
and again the good features of such 
weapons were so heavily outweighed by a 
lack of reliability that repercussions on 
troop morale overshadowed the short- 
range propaganda effect. A comment from 
the Russian front after the first major 
battle test of the Panther tank illustrates 
the point: 

In closing, I can't get around adding a few 
words on a very sad story, despite the fact 
that it was exactly the way I had thought it 
would be : Panther. There were a great many 
who expected the decision to come from the 
new, untried weapon. The initially complete 
failure therefore had a somewhat depressing 
effect, particularly since, on the basis of the 
Fuehrer Order, special expectations had been 
aroused. ... So long as one builds such a 
valuable weapon, one must not build in an 
unusable gasoline pump or deficient gaskets. 
There is no shadow of a doubt that the ma- 
jority of technical deficiencies resulted from 

Unless otherwise cited, material in the rest of 
this section is based on MS # T-l 1, Section B-15, 
OCMH, This manuscript is a 2,200-page co-operative 
study on the German High Command ( OKH ), pre- 
pared between 1946 and 1948 by General Franz Hai- 
der and a group of former German general staff offi- 
cers under the auspices of the Historical Division. 
EUCOM. Section B-15 was written by General der 
Artillerie Emil Leeb, at one time the chief of the Army 
Weapons Office. 

-'• Intel Rpt EF/AM/56, Part I, "General Appre- 
ciation of the Rationalization of the German Arma- 
ments Industry,'' Karl Otto Saur, in IN FIAT I 
350.09-78, 1 Jun 46. Ord Tech Intel files. 

8 RAD PANZERSPAHWAGEN, mounting the 7.5-cm. short-barreled gun. 

PANZER VI, THE "TIGER," mounting an 8. 8 -cm. gun. 



substitute materials which simply did not 
measure up to standard. . . . The effective- 
ness of the Panther weapon is noteworthy. At 
a range of 7,900 yards a [Soviet] T-34 [tank] 
was knocked out with the first round.'" 8 

Even if it wanted to, the Army Weapons 
Office could do little to remedy the situ- 
ation. From early prewar days the large 
majority of ground-force research and de- 
velopment had been conducted by private 
firms, with the Army's technical agency 
merely playing a testing and acceptance 
role. Its own research and development not 
only was extremely limited in scope but 
poor to boot." 9 The unbroken string of 
swift victories between September 1939 
and autumn 1941 provided little stimulus 
for improving on time-honored customs 
and procedures. Came the denouement of 
the catastrophic first winter in Russia and 
a lack of the new and better weapons with 
which to re-equip almost the entire Army, 
the Weapons Office was an easy target for 
those eager to obtain control over ground 
ordnance design and production. From the 
time that Hitler finally decreed the con- 
version of industry to an all-out war effort 
until the collapse of Germany in May 
1945, influence over Army research and 
development passed more and more into 
the hands of essentially nonmilitary 
authorities such as Albert Speer, the Min- 
ister for Armaments and War Production, 
Heinrich Himmler, whose SS was bent on 
building an industrial empire all its own, 
and, above all, the Fuehrer himself. 

Just as he personally participated in the 
conduct of operations, to the point where 
he ultimately made troop dispositions down 
to battalion level and lower, 30 so Hitler 
increasingly concerned himself with the 
details of armament design. Every modifi- 
cation, every new project was brought to 
the personal attention of the Commander 

in Chief of the Armed Forces for notice and 
approval. The soundness of basic princi- 
ples and the ratio of economic expenditure 
to probable long-range returns from a new 
weapon mattered less and less as the mili- 
tary situation continued to deteriorate. So 
long as an idea held even faint promise of 
a weapon with which to equalize the grow- 
ing disproportion between German and 
Allied resources of manpower and mate- 
riel, that idea was tried. Though it stands 
to reason that not all of the thousand and 
one projects resulting from this, the 
Fuehrer's policy, were worthless, the net 
gains little justified the reckless prodigality 
that achieved them. 

Limitations Upon American Ordnance 
Research and Development 

In contrast to the political control exer- 
cised over the German Army, the Chief of 
Staff of the U.S. Army had the final voice 
in decreeing American doctrine of tactical 
use of weapons. Though each of the using 
arms worked out its concepts of the best 
means of accomplishing its own mission, 
the Chief of Staff had to approve them or 
resolve conflicts of doctrine arising between 
one arm and another. The Ordnance De- 
partment was then responsible for design- 
ing the fighting equipment with which to 
execute the maneuvers planned. If evolu- 
tion of doctrine were tardy, then design 
would also be delayed, for design of 

Llr, Oberslleutnant von Grundherr, 14 Jul 43, 
in experience and inspection report binder, Panzer- 
offizier beim CkeJ 'Genera Is tab des Heeres, Akte E, Band 2, 
Erfahrunger { Reiseberichte ) , GMDS DRB AGO. 

-" For an exhaustive analysis of ail aspects of Ger- 
man research and development, see Col. Leslie E. 
Simon, German Research m World War II (New York 
and London, 1947). 

:] " MS # T-l 13, Unification or Co-ordination: The 
Armed Forces Problem, General der Artillerie Walter 
Warlimont, OCMH. 



weapons for any army is necessarily shaped 
by the purpose for which the weapons are 
to be used. To revert, as an illustration, to 
the problem of tank employment over 
which controversy had been vigorous in the 
1930's, if the tank were to be regarded as 
primarily a means of supporting the infan- 
try, tank design would stress cross-country 
maneuverability and fire power enough to 
combat infantry heavy weapons but not 
enough to fight a battle with enemy tanks. 
If, on the other hand, a tank were to be 
used as a part of an armored force, design 
would be focused on fire power sufficient 
to engage enemy tanks directly and on 
protection for the tank's crew. Ordnance 
automotive experts had complained in the 
1920's of being handicapped by failure of 
the General Staff to define tank doctrine, 
and revision of doctrine of the 1930's, cul- 
minating in the creation of the Armored 
Force in 1940, had required further exten- 
sive changes in tank design. A less well- 
known but perhaps still more serious situ- 
ation occurred in development of mines. 
Partly because the War Department only 
belatedly recognized the tactical impor- 
tance of powerful antitank mines and mine 
exploders, and partly because the Corps of 
Engineers requested only small mines, de- 
sign of adequate land mines was delayed 
at least two years. Ordnance ammunition 
specialists, to be sure, might have argued 
vigorously the case for mines comparable 
to the German Teller mines, but combat 
inexperience together with Engineer insist- 
ence would still have militated against 
early success in persuading the using arm 
to approve big mines. The mine clearance 
problem was not satisfactorily solved at all. 
Whether it could have been met before the 
end of the war, had the Ordnance Depart- 
ment been requested five years sooner to 
study it, may be a question, but certainly 

tardy demand for sound devices made the 
task of development more difficult. 31 

As the Chief of Staff determined how a 
weapon was to be used, so after 1919 the 
combat arms were empowered to list the 
characteristics it should possess. 32 Thus two 
limitations were imposed upon ordnance 
designers: they must devise materiel for 
predetermined purposes and they must 
accept the decisions of the combat arms as 
to what military characteristics would best 
serve in each weapon to accomplish these 
purposes. The customer was to be re- 
garded, if not as always right, at least as 
right until combat proved him wrong. 
That would be late in the game. In World 
War II special Ordnance missions, sent to 
active theatres to observe performance of 
American weapons or to prepare recom- 
mendations for new equipment for, say, 
jungle warfare, provided Research and 
Development Service with useful informa- 
tion and some understanding of combat 
troops' opinion. But redesign or major 
change had still to be approved by boards 
of the using arms. The fact that the person- 
nel of those boards changed rather fre- 
quently forced Ordnance designers at in- 
tervals to refight their case for any given 
proposal. Moreover, service boards were 
by no means always well informed on com- 
bat problems. While the Ordnance De- 
partment could attempt to dissuade the 
user from establishing requirements that 
Ordnance experts considered inappropri- 
ate or impossible to achieve, neither the 
Chief of Ordnance nor the chief of Re- 
search and Development Service had au- 
thority to reject a development project 
or to modify it materially once it had been 

~ See jChTxiin bel ow. 
See above, |p. 29. | 



At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the 
fact must be repeated that the Ordnance 
Department was a service, quite literally a 
servant, of the using arms. This fact is fre- 
quently misunderstood even within the 
Ordnance Department itself. Thus one 
Ordnance writer summarizing the war 
work of Ordnance Research and Develop- 
ment Service declared: 

It is a common belief that the evolution of 
new tactics dictates the use of new weapons 
when, in fact, the reverse is true. For the 
effective employment of new weapons, new 
methods of use (tactics) must inevitably be 
devised. The Research and Development 
Service, conscious of its responsibility to the 
using arms and of the necessity for increas- 
ingly decisive weapons, took the initiative in 
the development of much materiel without 
waiting for the need to be felt on the battle- 

There is, of course, an element of truth in 
the statement regarding the relation of 
weapons to their use. Tactics of modern 
warfare were revolutionized by the intro- 
duction of bombers, fighter planes, and 
tanks in World War I. At the end of World 
W T ar II the atomic bomb promised to bring 
about many changes in strategic and tacti- 
cal planning. The Ordnance Department, 
apart from three or four officers advising 
on fuze problems, had no share in the 
Manhattan Project. Future development 
of accurate guided missiles might necessi- 
tate further revisions of doctrine. But be- 
tween 1940 and 1945 the Ordnance De- 
partment neither devised any weapon that 
forced fundamental changes in tactical 
doctrine, nor, save in a few instances, did 
it anticipate a tactical need by designing 
an innovation before the fighting forces 
had requested it. If Ordnance engineers 
did submit an innovation without having 
had a specific request, they were obliged to 
conduct a difficult sales campaign to pre- 

vent flat rejection on the grounds that no 
requirement for it existed. 

The Chief of Staff in 1945 emphasized 
the injustice of criticisms aimed at the 
Ordnance Department: 

In some of the public discussions of such 
matters [the quality of American ordnance] 
criticism was leveled at the Ordnance De- 
partment for not producing better weapons. 
This Department produced with rare effi- 
ciency what it was told to produce, and these 
instructions came from the General Staff of 
which I am the responsible head, transmit- 
ting the resolved views of the officers with the 
combat troops or air forces, of the com- 
manders in the field. 34 

General Campbell also realized clearly the 
restrictions upon his Department. In dis- 
cussing with officers of the line the advis- 
ability of developing a trackless tank, 
Campbell announced: 

As long as I am in the Chair, the Ordnance 
Department is going to act as a servant of the 
line of the Army — its public. If the line wants 
an 18 wheeled car that will run sidewise, we 
will do our best to give it to the line. If we 
don't think it can be made, we will advise you 
to that effect. If you still want it, we will try 
our best to get it. That is our stand in this car 
right now. . . . It is up to the line to deter- 
mine, with our advice, what they would like 
to have done in this car. As far as the Ord- 
nance Department is concerned, it is your 
decision.' 5 

Experienced Ordnance officers recog- 
nized that more persuasiveness on the part 
of the Ordnance Department might occa- 
sionally have saved effort expended on 
weapons that, when completed, proved 

" PSP 81, OHF. 

" Biennial Report of The Chief of Staff of The United 
Slates Army— July 1, 194.3 to June 30, 19 45 to The Secre- 
tary of War, p. 97. 

35 Conference on the Trackless Tank, Col. William 
A. Borden. Chairman, 1 1 Jul 42, Tank and Automo- 
tive Br, Combat Vehicle Sec files. Project KG 218, 



unable to accomplish their purpose. The 
inability of Ordnance officers to induce the 
Infantry to abandon its demand for a 
37-mm. tank gun is one example. 36 Ord- 
nance engineers used engineering language 
that manifestly often carried little convic- 
tion to the combat arms. The layman must 
nevertheless be astonished at the Ordnance 
Department's acceptance of responsibility 
for designing weapons it had deemed un- 
suitable for the purpose intended and had 
demurred at developing. Instead of re- 
minding the using arm that any particular 
development had to follow the specifica- 
tions laid down by the user and that weak- 
nesses in the resulting weapon were often 
due to the combination of characteristics 
demanded, the Ordnance Department was 
prone to insist that the weapon under criti- 
cism was the best of its kind. For the sake 
of the morale of the general public in war- 
time, there was reason to announce em- 
phatically and repeatedly that American 
fighting equipment was the finest in the 
world. But within the War Department the 
Ordnance Department exposed itself to 
unwarranted criticism from other branches 
of the Army by not explaining the nature 
of the limitations imposed upon Ordnance 
Research and Development Service. 

Ordnance technicians and engineers, on 
the other hand, were not invariably in the 
van. Conservatism marked some phases of 
their thinking. An example may be found 
in their unwillingness in 1940 to push de- 
velopment of incendiary bombs, in spite of 
urgent communications from a military 
observer in London and later from an. offi- 
cer of the Army Air Forces who had wit- 
nessed the blitz. Several incendiary bombs 
had been under development during the 
1930's, but Ordnance ammunition experts 
by 1940 had come to the conclusion that a 
demolition bomb could do everything an 

incendiary could, and more. They turned 
deaf ears to descriptions of the effectiveness 
of the magnesium-filled incendiaries that 
the Germans had rained upon London. 
The upshot of this indifference was the 
transfer of the project to the Chemical 
Warfare Service, which had long had re- 
sponsibility for chemical fillers. Conse- 
quently it was the Chemical Warfare 
Service, not the Ordnance Department, 
that developed the so-called napalm bomb 
that proved peculiarly effective toward the 
end of the war and later in Korea. 37 

A few blind spots notwithstanding, by 
and large the Ordnance Department met 
its assigned responsibilities with distinction. 
In most cases, as General Marshall stated, 
shortcomings in American fighting equip- 
ment in World War II were attributable 
not to Ordnance Department slow-witted- 
ness, but to War Department and Ground 
Forces instructions. That public opinion 
and Congress all through the 1930's so 
stressed defense as opposed to aggressive 
warfare that Army planning was willy- 
nilly influenced by what amounted to a 
definite national policy, doubtless largely 
accounts for delays in evolving tactical 
doctrine for offense. 3i Those delays in turn 
retarded Ordnance research and develop- 
ment work. Comprehension of the limits of 
Ordnance responsibilities is essential to an 
understanding of the story that follows. 

Technical Intelligence 

In peacetime, development of American 
ordnance might be regarded as a search 
for absolutes rather than relatives. Since 

■™ Sec above, Pp~Ttt2-M| 

•'' (l) Intcrvs, 4- Apr 51, with Col Studler and with 
Mr. Frederick V. Ludden, Ammo Br, R&D Div. (2) 
OCM 15342. 13 Sep 39 and 15427, 25 Oct 39. 

iy See Watson, op. at., pp. 16-36. 



the enemy to be overmatched was un- 
known, the problem became one of finding 
the best possible means of defeating any 
hostile force without considering where a 
future battle would take place or exactly 
what equipment the future enemy would 
employ. Yet there were clear advantages 
to thinking in terms of besting a particular 
army and its materiel. The designer inevi- 
tably could most readily focus his ener- 
gies on countermeasures when faced with 
knowledge of what he must compete with. 
Americans had long realized that informa- 
tion about the types of equipment in use or 
under development by foreign armies was 
an aid, if not actually a starting point, for 
ordnance research and development work 
for the U.S. Army. But during the 1930's 
technical intelligence, that is, data on de- 
tails of foreign design and manufacturing 
methods, was so intertwined with military 
intelligence that what filtered through to 
the Department was casual and tended 
to leave research to proceed in a near 
vacuum. The U.S. Army's disregard of 
developments in foreign munitions before 
1940 is a perpetual source of astonishment 
to the European. 

When the disasters on the Continent oc- 
curred in the spring and summer of 1940, 
American military intelligence still derived 
only from military observer and liaison 
reports sent through American embassies. 
Realization of the need of more and 
exacter knowledge of foreign weapons had 
led the Chief of Ordnance in March to 
request the appointment of two additional 
Ordnance officers as assistant military ob- 
servers. Accordingly, in May, Colonel 
Zornig went to Berlin and Capt. Gervais 
W. Trichel to Paris. Captain Trichel's mis- 
sion terminated in June, and Colonel 
Zornig's in July at his own request, when 
he discovered that sources of exact infor- 

mation w r ere closed to him. 39 Meanwhile, 
the extent of what the Ordnance Depart- 
ment did not know about German, 
French, and British ordnance is plainly 
revealed in a list of questions prepared by 
the Office, Chief of Ordnance, in June 
1940. A week before the fall of France the 
Chief of Ordnance asked that military ob- 
servers in Europe find the answers, and, if 
possible, send samples of foreign equip- 
ment for study in the United States. When 
the replies came back in the late fall, the 
papers were circulated narrowly. It is hard 
to believe that the information had not 
been long available in Ordnance files. For 
example, the first question on artillery 
asked whether the French 75-mm. and 
155-mm. gun (GPF) recoil mechanisms 
were secret; the answer was that neither 
had been secret since 1918. Moreover, 
many of the answers to questions on Ger- 
man materiel are known today to have 
been inaccurate, for captured German 
documents giving official data on charac- 
teristics and performance show how much 
misinformation the reports contained. 40 
But long before the General Staff discov- 
ered that, it was obvious that means were 
inadequate for obtaining knowledge of 
what ordnance resources the future enemy 

At the end of August 1940 the General 
Staff inaugurated an Army-wide intelli- 
gence system. Every service was to have a 
unit. The Ordnance Military Intelligence 
Section was established in September. Its 
duties were to collate, digest, and dissemi- 
nate the information that came from G-2 
reports and to prepare statements of what 

3 " Min, Wesson Conferences, 21 Mar 40, 23 Mar 
40, 1 1 Apr 40, and 4 May 40, OHF. 

"' Special List of Questions on Ord Materiel, 13 
Jun 40, and Reply 1st Ind, 27 Nov 40, OKD 470/ 
204.1, Ord Tech Intel files. 



further information the Ordnance Depart- 
ment needed in order to solve its current 
problems. But the section had no immedi- 
ate part in collecting data abroad and, in 
the months that followed, much of what 
the G-2 reports contained dealt with coun- 
tries that were soon to be allies. 41 Never- 
theless, the machinery was now in exist- 
ence for making use of intelligence reports, 
and the scope and effectiveness of the intel- 
ligence network was to increase greatly as 
time went on. Circulating Military Intelli- 
gence Division special bulletins was the 
first step in keeping the services informed 
on foreign developments. By December 
1940 G-2 had evolved its procedures about 
as follows; when an incoming report noted 
that German tanks were carrying 2-inch 
armor plate and recommended corre- 
sponding increases on American tanks, 
G-2 sent the information to G-4, the In- 
fantry, the Engineers, the Armored Force, 
and Ordnance. If the arms and services 
concurred, G-4 would initiate action to 
put the change into effect. n The chief dif- 
ference between this system and earlier 
procedures lay in the speed with which 
action could be hurried through because 
every branch of the Army was informed 
simultaneously. Indeed General Marshall, 
in discussing Army Intelligence, observed 
that right up to the time of Pearl Harbor 
the United States had little more than 
what its military observers "could learn at 
a dinner, more or less over the coffee 

Within its first year the Ordnance Mili- 
tary Intelligence Section found its task 
growing in volume and complexity. From 
the data supplied by the special bulletins 
of G-2, the small staff of the Ordnance sec- 
tion periodically prepared detailed anal- 
yses of information bearing on ordnance. 
The Ordnance Intelligence Bulletins, 

averaging monthly nearly fifty pages, circu- 
lated among interested agencies outside 
and units within the Department, so that 
a considerable body of facts — or guesses — 
on foreign materiel became available to 
people needing the data. After May 1941 
the reports of the Ordnance section of a 
new War Department Special Observer 
Group sent to the United Kingdom that 
month supplemented routine commu- 
niques. 44 Meanwhile the Ordnance De- 
partment was not wholly dependent upon 
G-2 sources for information. Even before 
the Lend-Lease Act passed, Ordnance 
technicians could profit by the exchange 
of scientific findings among British, Cana- 
dian, and American scientists of NDRC. 4 ' 
And, as it became clear that the United 
States was actually, even if not yet for- 
mally, committed to supporting Great 
Britain in the war against Germany, the 
British put at the disposal of the U.S. 
Army data both on British weapons and 
on what British intelligence had uncovered 
on German weapons. British technical in- 
telligence bridged the gap for the United 
States until such time as the U.S. Army 
had trained technical intelligence to act 
for itself, and, in fact, throughout the war 
the Ordnance Department used British, 
Canadian, and Australian reports on 
enemy equipment. 1 " 

After Pearl Harbor Ordnance officers 

11 Memo, Actg ACofS G-2 for CofS, 16 Aug 40, 
sub: VV'DSR MID WD Intelligence, AG 321.19 MID, 

'- (1) Special MID Bull 17. 26 Sep 40. G-2/2657- 
23. (2) Memo. ACofS G-2 for CofS, 2 Dec 40. OO 
350.051 MID. Both in DRB AGO. 

4 ' ; Hearings .... Senate, 80th Cong, 1st Scss. on 
S758, 30 Apr 47, p. 493. 

" (1) Memo, ACofS G-2 for CofS, 14 Aug 41, 
350.051 MID. (2) Ord Tech Services in ETO, AG 
Adm 604F. Both in DRB AGO. 

4ii Baxter, op, til. . pp . 1 20-23. 

'"' See below n. 7 7. 



assigned to theatre headquarters prepared 
regular monthly reports which sometimes 
contained explicit information upon 
enemy ordnance. As early as March 1942 
the communications of the Ordnance of- 
ficer in the Middle East described features 
of German weapons encountered by the 
British in the recent battles for North 
Africa, and a series of photographs of cap- 
tured equipment arrived at Aberdeen 
Proving Ground soon after. Some actual 
specimens of German materiel also were 
shipped to the States, although in 1942 
they formed a thin trickle compared to the 
flood that was to reach Aberdeen in the 
summer of 1943. 47 Study of the weapons 
themselves naturally gave research men in 
the zone of the interior more useful knowl- 
edge than they could derive from reports 
written overseas, even when they were ac- 
companied by sketches. The chief value of 
theatre reports to the Research and Devel- 
opment Service lay in the detailed com- 
ments on performance of American ord- 
nance. Later in the war special missions 
sent to active theatres undertook to assem- 
ble information upon the functioning of 
particular types of Allied equipment, to 
see what other types were needed, or to in- 
troduce new experimental models. But on 
enemy weapons neither these special mis- 
sions nor the theatre Ordnance officer 
could ordinarily supply all wanted tech- 
nical data. 

Early in 1942 General Barnes was con- 
vinced that research and development 
would benefit by a more direct flow of 
technical information than the theatres 
could readily transmit under the existing 
system. That summer, as soon as he be- 
came head of the separate division for 
research and development, he launched 
his proposal. He persuaded G-2 and the 

rest of the War Department that, because 
trained Ordnance observers could collect 
essential detailed data on enemy equip- 
ment more competently than could officers 
trained only in general military intelli- 
gence, specially briefed Ordnance teams 
should be sent to the active theatres. The 
first Ordnance intelligence mission accord- 
ingly went to North Africa soon afterward, 
in fact some months before American 
combat troops landed there. A series of 
units for more permanent overseas assign- 
ment could not be provided so quickly. 
Working out a systematic scheme of in- 
doctrinating Enemy Equipment Intelli- 
gence units, as they came to be called, took 
several months. The first of these new 
teams left the States in December 1942. 48 
Others followed, until by V-E Day units 
for every theatre had been organized and 
dispatched. Though originally their mis- 
sion was to collect samples of enemy equip- 
ment and all possible data on it to send to 
Research and Development Service in the 
States, in time the units served combat 
troops more directly by issuing bulletins in 
the theatres containing information on 
how to use against the enemy his own 
weapons captured in an advance. So use- 
ful was the work of the Ordnance teams 
that early in 1944 the commanding gen- 
eral of the Army Service Forces ordered 
every technical service to organize similar 
units. Enemy Equipment Intelligence 
Service teams thus became accepted parts 

JT (1 ) Progress Rpt Ord Sec, Actg Ord Off Mil 
North African Mission to CG Mil North African Mis- 
sion, 31 Mar 42, MNAM Folder, Rpts file, OHF. (2) 
Memo. Capt Everett S. Davis for Chief of Intel Div 
ASF, 10 Jul 43, sub: Weekly Activities Rpt of Ord 
Intel Unit, OO 319.1/3462 Misc, DRB AGO. 

" (1) Interv with Capt Ernest V. Cameron, Ord 
Tech Intel. 10 Oct 50. (2) Ord Opns in Middle East 
Theatre. OHF. i31 WD Tng Cir 81. G Nov 42. 



of American armies overseas. 49 

These teams were drawn from groups 
who had trained as tank maintenance men 
and as small arms, artillery, and ammuni- 
tion specialists. Familiarity with the fea- 
tures of American equipment qualified 
them more readily to recognize distinctive 
and noteworthy characteristics of enemy 
materiel, a consideration peculiarly im- 
portant when captured items could not be 
returned intact to the zone of interior for 
analysis. In the last year of the war, thea- 
tre intelligence staffs recruited additional 
men for Enemy Equipment Intelligence 
units by taking volunteers with special ex- 
perience. At no time did the Ordnance 
Department make any pretense of giving 
thorough training in intelligence work. A 
week of intensive preparation at Aberdeen 
Proving Ground followed by a week's 
briefing by the Military Intelligence Divi- 
sion of the General Staff and by the branch 
chiefs of Ordnance Research and Develop- 
ment was all that was possible. Experience 
in the field proved to be the best school- 
ing.'' The officers who had the task of 
making this new service fulfill its mission 
in the theatres had a pioneering assign- 
ment as difficult as it was important. 

In Europe, where Allied invasion of the 
Continent would give direct access to Ger- 
man factories, laboratories, and experi- 
mental stations, the theatre Ordnance of- 
ficer, Brig. Gen. Henry B. Sayler, realized 
some months before D Day that an oppor- 
tunity would exist to go beyond capture 
and study of particular pieces of enemy 
equipment; captured German correspond- 
ence, laboratory equipment, and records, 
as well as interviews with prisoners of war 
who had been engaged in German ord- 
nance research, would enormously enlarge 
knowledge of enemy development plans 

and methods. Acting upon General 
Sayler's suggestion, the Chief of Ordnance 
arranged to have technical specialists 
assigned to this task, and in October 1944 
the first group, designated the Research 
and Development Branch of the Technical 
Division of the Office of the Chief Ord- 
nance Officer, ETOUSA, began its work. 
The resulting information was assembled 
and disseminated by a joint British and 
American agency, the Combined Intelli- 
gence Objectives Sub-Committee, usually 
called CIOS, with headquarters in Lon- 
don. The data thus accumulated in the 
last six months of the war in Europe, 
though collected too late to be applied to 
weapons in World War II, were of utmost 
long-term value to the Ordnance Depart- 
ment. The work of the CIOS represents 
an important phase of Allied co-operation 
on research problems. 51 In the Pacific no 
comparable investigation was possible 
until American troops occupied Japan 
after the war. 

The form that technical intelligence 
activities took in the battle zones and be- 
hind the combat lines is part of the story 
of Ordnance service overseas. Research 
and Development Service in the zone of 
interior was affected only by the arrival of 
captured items at Aberdeen or of photo- 
graphs sent to the Office, Chief of Ord- 
nance, along with such analyses of enemy 

4? (1) Capt Ernest V. Cameron, Hist of the Ord 
Technical Intelligence Organization (hereafter cited 
as Hist Ord Tech Intel), and incl, copy of ltr. CG 
ASF to CG US Forces in ETO, 14 Mar 44, sub: En- 
emy Equipment Intelligence Service Teams, OHF. 
(2) FM 30-15, 7 Dec 43, DRB AGO. 

50 (1) Interv with Capt Cameron, 2 Oct 50. (2) Ltr, 
Gen Barnes to Col Holger N. Toftoy, 19 Jun 44, sub: 
Ord Tech Intel Teams in Ord Tech Services in ETO, 
Annex 5, AG Adm 604F, DRB AGO. 

r '' Ord Tech Services in ETO, AG Adm 604F, 



equipment as could be made in the thea- 
tres. The Ordnance intelligence unit in 
Washington was responsible for the ulti- 
mate disposition both of actual specimens 
and of information about them, but a For- 
eign Materiel Section established at the 
Aberdeen Proving Ground was the first 
consignee of enemy weapons and vehicles. 
From Aberdeen the intelligence unit in the 
Office, Chief of Ordnance, might shortly 
decide to send an item to an arsenal or to 
a commercial laboratory for study — a 
German machine gun to Springfield 
Armory, a sample of foreign alloy steel to 
Watertown, a fire control instrument to 
Frankford Arsenal. The resulting reports 
upon the enemy equipment, whether 
studied by the Aberdeen Foreign Materiel 
Section and the Ballistic Research Labo- 
ratory, by an Ordnance contractor, or by 
an arsenal, were assembled by the intelli- 
gence staff of Research and Development 
Service who then prepared and distrib- 
uted summaries of the findings. The sum- 
maries might be incorporated in the 
technical information letters sent to the 
theatres of operations monthly after April 
1943 or might be circulated only among 
agencies within the United States. 
Throughout the war the bulk of the sig- 
nificant work on enemy weapons took 
place at Aberdeen where the firing range, 
laboratory, and proving facilities made 
possible comparative tests of American 
and foreign ordnance. 52 

The Foreign Materiel Section of the 
proving center at Aberdeen was formally 
established in September 1942, though it 
had antecedents in the museum where 
foreign equipment of World War I and 
after, all carefully catalogued, had stood 
on display. Before the end of the year Lt. 
Col. George B. Jarrett, newly returned 
from the Middle East, was appointed chief 

of the section. Jarrett, an arms collector in 
private life and the curator of the original 
museum at Aberdeen, was eminently 
qualified to make the new unit effective. 
W T hile he was still in the Middle East he 
had anticipated the need of studying 
enemy equipment thoroughly and had ar- 
ranged to ship a few lots back to the Prov- 
ing Ground. This was the only whole- 
hearted attempt made up to that time to 
assemble enemy ordnance for technical 
analysis. The materiel was put to imme- 
diate use in schooling the first Enemy 
Equipment Intelligence units preparing 
for overseas duty. As the number of items 
arriving at Aberdeen multiplied, the work 
of the section increased enormously and 
the section became a branch with sections 
under it. One section took charge of the 
museum exhibits, which were continued 
for the benefit of a host of visitors — guests 
at Proving Ground demonstrations, news- 
paper men, and especially officers detailed 
to examine the specimens. Another section 
maintained the Foreign Materiel Branch 
Library and made analyses of foreign de- 
signs and engineering features. A third 
section acted as liaison with the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, and arranged for ship- 
ments of items or components to desig- 
nated laboratories and agencies. 5 a 

By the fall of 1943 shipments of as much 
as twenty-six carloads of captured enemy 
equipment were rolling into Aberdeen at 
one time. It was not an indiscriminate col- 

~- ( 1 ) ODO 327, 19 Aug 42 and 344, 12 Oct 42, 
OHF. (2) Hist of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Vol. II, 
Ch. 8, Exhibits II and Q ; Vol. Ill, Ch. 4; and Vol. 
IV., Ch. 4, OHF. 

;, i Hist of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Vol. III. Ch. 
4, OHF. In the paragraphs that follow the data derive 
either from the History of Aberdeen Proving Ground 
here cited, or from interviews with Colonel Jarrett, 
Captain Cameron, and Colonel Frye, held respectively 
on 25 October 1950. 2 November 1950, and 1 1 Sep- 
tember 1951. 



lection, as Enemy Equipment Intelligence 
teams dispatched only new or newly modi- 
fied materiel. Furthermore, the first 
sample of each new item captured in the 
European and Mediterranean theatres 
went to the United Kingdom, so that only 
a second specimen could go to the United 
States. Still the accumulating mass of for- 
eign materiel was tremendous. Deducing 
from it all possible useful information re- 
quired careful organization. A description 
of the successive steps in handling a cap- 
tured German tank may serve to illustrate 
the process of studying foreign equipment 
at the Proving Ground. The Office, Chief 
of Ordnance, co-ordinated the test pro- 
gram in order to guarantee its proceeding 
with maximum efficiency and to prevent 
needless damage to a specimen or un- 
authorized destruction. 

When a tank was captured and ship- 
ping space found, the Enemy Equipment 
Intelligence unit sent word to the intelli- 
gence section of Ordnance Research and 
Development Service in Washington that 
the tank was en route to the United States. 
Upon its arrival, port authorities notified 
the commanding general at Aberdeen, 
and, after it reached the Proving Ground, 
the Foreign Materiel Branch photo- 
graphed it inside and out and reported 
upon its condition to the intelligence sec- 
tion in the Office, Chief of Ordnance. The 
intelligence section then communicated 
with other units of Research and Develop- 
ment Service — the tank division, the 
artillery division, the ballistics division, the 
materiel branch — and with agencies out- 
side the Ordnance Department, such as 
the Signal Corps, if the tank's communica- 
tion system appeared to have unusual 
features, or the Chemical Warfare Service, 
which was interested in the power plant 
oxygen supply and its susceptibility to gas 

contamination. Even a branch of the State 
Department might be concerned, if mark- 
ings on parts of the tank promised to dis- 
close where parts had been manufactured 
and thus indicate economic conditions in 
Germany. On the basis of the requests 
submitted by all these groups, the Intelli- 
gence Section prepared a directive to gov- 
ern the order and character of the tests to 
be conducted. Occasionally, some other 
division of Research and Development 
Service drew up the test directive, to which 
the Intelligence Section then gave concur- 
rence. Not until the order from the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, appeared could tests 
begin at Aberdeen. 

After the staff at Aberdeen had its in- 
structions in hand, it frequently had to 
make considerable repairs before the tank 
could be subjected to road or firing tests. 
It often demanded sound engineering and 
great care to ensure accurate reconstruc- 
tion of the original model. The first trial 
then might very well be a road and cross- 
country test to compare the speed and 
maneuverability of the enemy vehicle with 
an American counterpart. A check of the 
time required to traverse the German tur- 
ret and scrutiny of all electrical controls 
within turret and body might be the next 
procedure. Anything novel about the 
headlights or searchlights had to be noted. 
Specialists studied the characteristics of 
the suspension system, the tracks, and the 
treads, if not already revealed by photo- 
graphs. The Society of Automotive Engi- 
neers War Engineering Board, which gave 
the Ordnance Department invaluable 
assistance throughout the war, might 
undertake careful examination of the 
design, methods of fabrication, and ma- 
terials used. Chemical and performance 
analyses of the oils and lubricants em- 
ployed might be called for. The fire con- 



trol and sighting devices might be stripped 
off and sent to the laboratory at Frankford 
Arsenal for study, or optical experts 
brought to Aberdeen might witness per- 
formance of the sights in firing tests on the 
range. If the ammunition for the tank guns 
had new features of design or used un- 
familiar types of fuze or power, the tests 
might include laboratory examination of 
a few shells. The projectile might require 
extensive metallurgical analysis at Water- 
town Arsenal. In firing the guns, crews 
and officers had to keep records of their 
range, accuracy, and penetrating power. 
Ballisticians of the Research Laboratory 
might have to prepare comparative tabu- 
lations of the German and American bal- 
listic performance. 

Upon completion of these tests, Amer- 
ican guns would ordinarily fire at the tank 
in order to find the spots of greatest weak- 
ness, test the resistance of the German 
armor plate, and establish the effective 
range of American guns and shells de- 
signed to combat this type of enemy tank. 
For example, firing new experimental 
high-velocity armor-piercing 90-mm. shell 
at a German Panther tank supplied to 
Ordnance ammunition experts important 
information needed to perfect this HVAP 
ammunition. Metallurgical study of a 
piece of the tanks' armor might follow if 
its resistance to penetration or method of 
fabrication deviated from what past ex- 
perience had led the Ordnance Depart- 
ment to expect. The final report upon a 
German tank might thus consist of a good 
many separate studies. Having assembled 
these and checked for consistency in the 
findings and terminology, the foreign ma- 
teriel staff dispatched copies of the full re- 
port to the technical intelligence unit of 
the Office, Chief of Ordnance, to the chief 
of Research and Development Service, to 
G-2 of the General Staff, and to any other 

units known to have legitimate interest in 
the data. 

Usually men at Aberdeen put the first 
captured specimen of a new piece of 
enemy ordnance through careful perform- 
ance tests, including firing of German am- 
munition against American tanks. Later 
samples of enemy equipment were used 
either for verification of the first set of find- 
ings, for target tests of improved American 
ammunition, or for a check on the quality 
of materials and minor changes in design 
employed in later enemy models. Tech- 
nical intelligence officers overseas en- 
deavored to send a specimen of each 
weapon to Aberdeen every six months in 
order to enable the staff to observe any 
changes in design and materials. Contin- 
uous laboratory study of critical parts, 
components, and fabricating methods was 
of some strategic value because it provided 
clues to the current status of enemy man- 
power, raw material supplies, and produc- 
tion facilities. Sometimes American experts 
directly copied features of an enemy design 
and sometimes, by applying an engineer- 
ing principle used in the captured weapon, 
were able to improve upon the original. 

Technicians and military experts in the 
zone of interior could thus scrutinize every 
detail of any piece of captured equipment. 
In actuality, exhaustive analyses were 
rare. An NDRC contract with the Battelle 
Memorial Institute, negotiated in April 
1943, aimed specifically at obtaining full 
information from a series of such studies. 
But NDRC's summary report at the end 
of the war declared: "Very little benefit 
was derived from these studies due largely 
to the fact that this office [OCO] provided 
inadequate guidance and direction to the 
NDRC contractor." 54 The Ordnance De- 
partment unfortunately could not spare 

NDRC Liaison, Project OP-113, OHF. 



men to give Battelle the necessary indoc- 
trination. Because time was short and at- 
tempt to ape a foreign competitor might 
delay vital production, most studies of 
enemy ordnance concentrated primarily 
upon comparisons of performance with 

By the summer of 1944 the Ordnance 
Department had collected enough data on 
foreign weapons to issue the Catalogue of 
Enemy Ordnance Materiel, one volume 
on German and one volume on Japanese. 
The form was like that of the Catalogue of 
Standard Ordnance Items. A considerable 
list of errata appended to later issues of 
the Enemy Ordnance Catalogue testified 
to need for constant revision. Both Ord- 
nance Department and officers of the 
Ground Forces received copies of these 
loose-leaf volumes. The catalogues did not, 
of course, contain estimates of perform- 
ance of enemy equipment. These ap- 
praisals went to the Chief of Staff in a 
lengthy secret report of May 1945, entitled 
Comparison of American, German and 
Japanese Ordnance. 55 Before the war was 
over, many men of Ordnance Research 
and Development Service knew a great 
deal about their competitors' products. 

Collaboration with Allied Nations 

As soon as Britain's doubts about 
American co-operation in the fight against 
the Nazi regime were dispelled, the War 
Office released a mass of technical and 
scientific data to be used in developments 
in the United States. The Tizard Mission 
of September 1940, a precursor of the 
series of special missions to America, to 
London, and to Ottawa, included repre- 
sentatives of the British Army, Navy, and 
Air Force, the Canadian defense services 
and the National Research Council of 
Canada. In the early days the United 

States got more help on basic research 
than it gave, though later this condition 
was reversed, and the American scientific 
contributions to the joint war effort came 
to be of vast importance. 5 " Following the 
enactment of the Lend-Lease Act in 
March 1941, systematic interchange of in- 
formation and development planning 
began. NDRC set up a branch in London, 
and in April the British Central Scientific 
Office was opened in Washington under 
the direction of a distinguished British 
physicist. From the latter office a long list 
of special technical reports was regularly 
submitted to the Ordnance Department, 
with the understanding that copies of any 
report would be made available upon 
request. 57 The full collaboration of scien- 
tists, accustomed to pooling scientific data 
through journals and conferences that 
recognized no international boundaries, 
was less astonishing than the co-operation 
quickly established between American, 
British, and Canadian military representa- 

The first move of the L T .S. Army in join- 
ing efforts with the British on both pro- 
curement and research and development 
programs was the creation of the Special 
Observer Group sent to London in May 
1941. To the Ordnance section of this 
group Col. John Coffey was assigned. The 
mission of the Ordnance section included 
study of "British establishments" and 
preparation of reports upon them for the 
Chief of Ordnance in the States. "British 
establishments" was in time interpreted to 

Comparison of American, German, and Japanese 
Ord, prepa red for CofS, 6 May 45, OHF. See below 
bp. 275-871 

See Baxter, op. cit. , pp. 1 1 9-35. 

( 1 ) List of Documents from British Sources re- 
ceived by British Central Scientific Office in June 
1943, OO 350.05/4295, DRB AGO. (2) 1st Ind, Col 
Ritchie. Chief Serv Br, Tech Dry, to CO Watertown 
Arsenal, 21 Jun 43, OO 350.05/2218, DRB AGO. 



mean manufacturing plants as well as 
military installations, so that information 
upon British manufacturing techniques 
was available to the Ordnance section. By 
joint agreement in August, copies of pro- 
ceedings of the British Ordnance Board 
were thereafter sent regularly to the Office, 
Chief of Ordnance, in the States and min- 
utes of the Ordnance Technical Committee 
to London. 5H Other than the British board 
proceedings, the information dispatched 
to Washington during 1941 and early 1942 
dealt largely with gaps in equipment or 
with recommendations for changes in type. 
For example, a report of late February 
1942 urged a number of changes: use of 
20-mm. antiaircraft guns in place of 50- 
caliber machine guns that were ineffective 
against dive bombers; discard of 37-mm. 
or 3-pounder tank guns because of their 
inability "to enter a slugging match with 
equivalent German guns" and because of 
the tanks' "insufficient mobility to outrun 
the [German Panzer IV] tanks"; adoption 
of 40-mm. Bofors antiaircraft guns as 
integral parts of equipment for each ar- 
mored, motorized, or foot division; in- 
crease in the range of 105-mm. howitzers 
and improvement in their antitank fight- 
ing characteristics. Furthermore, to speed 
the receipt of information, this report 
recommended that technical data go 
direct to the office that had requested 
them, instead of through G-2 channels, a 
recommendation that shortly was put into 
effect. 59 

After the formation of Headquarters, 
European Theater of Operations, United 
States Army, ETOUSA, in the summer of 
1942, the Ordnance section of the Special 
Observer Group became the Ordnance 
Section of the new headquarters. For Re- 
search and Development Service in the 
zone of the interior the value of this Ord- 

nance unit grew when in April 1943 its 
function was broadened to include: 

a. . . . investigate, follow up, and report to 
the War Dept, on foreign research and de- 
velopment of all Ordnance and related 

d. Report on proving ground apparatus and 
equipment and any manufacturing proc- 
esses of interest to the Chief of Ordnance. 

g. Furnish representation for ETO on the 
British Ordnance Board, various commit- 
tees, sub-committees, panels, etc., dealing 
with research and development of Ord- 
nance when such representation is re- 
quested by the British. 80 

Thereafter, the volume of explicit infor- 
mation rolling into the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, bearing on research and devel- 
opment in the United Kingdom increased 
rapidly. The stream of reports and 
memoranda included discussion of tests 
and experiments under way on American 
materiel in Britain, descriptions of British 
experimental work, and sometimes data 
on German ordnance collected by the 
British. 61 Only when D Day transferred 
most activity to the Continent did infor- 
mation from London shrink in impor- 

On no other type of materiel was col- 
laboration with the British so extensive 
and carefully organized as on tanks, tank 

> 3 (1) Ord Tech Services in ETO, AG Adm 604F, 
DRB AGO. (2) Ltr, CofOrd to MID G-2, 23 Jun 45, 
sub: Ord Tech Liaison with the British, British Re- 
lations. Barnes file, OHF. 

»» Ltr, MID GS to ACofS G-2, 23 Feb 42, sub: 
Final Rpt on Temporary Duty as Mil Observer in 
British Isles. OO 350.05/209, DRB AGO. 

Hq ETOUSA, Ord Office Order 15, 27 Apr 43, 
cited in Ord Tech Services in ETO, AG Adm 604F, 

61 See correspondence in OO 350.05, May 43 to 
Jun 44, DRB AGO. 



guns, and tank accessories. In September 
1941 a mission headed by General Wesson, 
Chief of Ordnance, went to London to 
confer with the British War Office and 
Ministry of Supply on production and de- 
sign problems. British officials at the con- 
ferences made some specific requests of the 
U.S. Army, but offered at the same time a 
reasoned exposition of what two years of 
fighting had taught the British about tank 
and artillery design. British proposals for 
some heavier tanks with wider tracks and 
more powerful guns reinforced the views 
of the automotive experts of the Ordnance 
Department and doubtless helped even- 
tually to convince the ground forces that 
bigger tanks were necessary. Description 
of the guns and armor that the Germans 
had been using against the British in 
Africa made a telling argument.' 12 In 
March 1942 a British mission came to 
Washington to carry the discussions fur- 
ther, though its primary objective was to 
straighten out questions of procurement. 
The British Tank Mission and the United 
States Tank Committee reached agree- 
ment on a wide range of questions con- 
cerning armored fighting vehicles, but 
equally important were the proposals for 
future collaboration. A joint agreement 
laid down a general policy of maintaining 
"the fullest of mutual exchange of infor- 
mation and of coordination of plans."" 3 
Accordingly, members of the British Army 
staff in Washington, the British Air Com- 
mission, and War Supplies Ltd. began to 
attend meetings of the Ordnance Techni- 
cal Committee and shortly thereafter 
Canadian representatives also were ad- 
mitted." 4 

In August an American Technical Mis- 
sion went to London. The discussions that 
occurred that August covered far more 
than combat vehicles. Indeed, the initial 

request for the mission listed several items 
upon which British developments had 
gone so far that the U.S. Army could only 
save duplicating effort by examining Brit- 
ish findings and techniques in the United 
Kingdom — notably, a shoulder-type anti- 
tank projector with half-round bombs, 
Probert rifling for guns using forward 
banded shell, the "Little John two- 
pounder squeeze attachment," the Burney 
recoilless gun, and rocket projectiles.'"' 
Consequently, the mission included ex- 
perts in seven different fields. General 
Barnes represented the United States on 
problems of artillery, self-propelled 
mounts, and fighting vehicles; Colonel 
Zornig on metallurgy and gun ammuni- 
tion; Col. Robert G. Butler on aircraft 
bombs; Col. Horace A. Quinn on aircraft 
armament; Col. Gervais W, Trichel on fire 
control; Mr. Samuel Feltman on ballistics; 
and 2d Lt. Edward G. Uhl on rockets. 
Tours of British installations gave the 
American mission firsthand knowledge of 
what lines the United Kingdom was fol- 
lowing, and conferences held group by 
group permitted careful exploration of de- 
tails on each type of materiel. The general 
conclusions stressed the wisdom of creat- 
ing routines for fuller, regular exchange 
of information between Britain and the 
United States, for officials of both nations 
recognized that liaison was still far from 

(i - General Staff Note for Gen Wesson ... on 
specific points concerning tank design and produc- 
tion . . . arising from a meeting ... at the War 
Office, 27 Sep 41, and Min of Mtg Held at Claridge 
Hotel, 30 Sep 41, OO 334.8/4800 1 / 3 , DRB AGO. 

53 Findings and Final Min of Joint British Tank 
Mission and U.S. Tank Committee, 30 Mar 42, OHF. 

" 4 GofOrd to MID C 2. 23 Jun 45, sub: Ord 
Tech Liaison with the British, British Relations, 
Barnes file, OHF. 

Msg 2788. Greenwell to CofS. action copy to 
CoiOrd! 9. Jun 42, OO 350.05/810, DRB AGO. For 
descriptio n of the main features of these items, sec 
|Ch. XII,| beIow. 



complete. They proposed that further ex- 
change of visits be scheduled and that 
officers assigned to such missions be re- 
quired to submit written reports on their 
findings; the reports should be widely and 
promptly circulated. A final statement 

The question of urgency in production 
[and] conservation of critical materials em- 
phasise the necessity for a true appreciation of 
simplification in design, with a greater degree 
of standardisation on common items between 
the two countries, together with the mainte- 
nance of a high quality in manufacture suf- 
ficient to perform the duty for which the 
weapon is required. G<; 

In keeping with the spirit of these rec- 
ommendations, arrangements were made 
on both sides of the water for close liaison. 
From London, Col. Frank F. Reed of the 
Ordnance Section at ETO headquarters 
regularly sent to Research and Develop- 
ment Service minutes of the North African 
Armored Fighting Vehicles meetings 
where every detail was threshed out peri- 
odically. 1 " Transmitting records of tests 
and reports on experimentation sometimes 
ran into a long series of communications 
covering a period of many months. For 
example, correspondence and military ob- 
server reports describing work on the so- 
called Sherman DD device began in June 
1942 and continued into December 1943. H8 
American Ordnance officers assigned to 
British experimental stations or proving 
grounds had access to all information, and 
nothing Research and Development Serv- 
ice in the States wanted to know about 
British research and development was de- 
nied it. B!> Still, it was clear that written re- 
ports were no substitute for technical 
missions. "The best means of close coop- 
eration and exchange of technical infor- 
mation," wrote theatre headquarters in 
1943, "is believed to be through the mis- 

sions sent to this theatre." The report went 
on to state that the missions should be sent 
approximately every three months, and 
from time to time officers assigned to the 
theatre should be returned for temporary 
duty in the States. 70 In January 1944 
Colonel Reed began regularly to attend 
meetings of the British Ordnance Board. 

Despite a statement of the August mis- 
sion implying awareness of shortages of 
materials in both Britain and America, co- 
operation in conserving raw materials and 
finding ways of using substitutes was 
slower than collaboration in other realms. 
General Barnes upon his return from Lon- 
don had observed that the British up to 
that time had undertaken no experimenta- 
tion on use of substitute materials. "Due to 
the liberal supply of strategic materials 
from the United States," he wrote, "the 
British have not felt the same urge to make 
substitutions as has been the case in the 
Ordnance Department where pressures 
exist." 71 Six months later an Anglo-*<\meri- 
can Conservation Committee with head- 
quarters in London was established with 
the stated purpose of promoting inter- 
change of information on "all subjects re- 

U.S. Technical Mission, Joint Rpt and Findings, 
Ministry of Supply, London, 26 Aug 42, p. 8, OHF. 

KT Ltr, Col Reed, Ord Sec HQS OS ETOUSA, lo 
Tech Div OCO, 1 1 Nov 43, sub: Min of Twenty-sec- 
ond North African AFV Meeting. OO 350.05/7469, 

B " (1) Ltr, Col Rccd to Tech Div, 1 1 Nov 43, sub: 
Sherman DD (Straussler Flotation Gear), OO 
350.05/7389, DRB AGO. (2) Ltr, Col Reed to Tech 
Div, 1 Dec 43, sub: Sherman DD, OO 350.05/7854, 
DRB AGO. DD is the abbreviation for "duplex 
drive/' a system adapted for amphibious use of tanks. 

Interv with Lt Col William J. Durrenberger, 
R&D Scrv, 22 Nov 50. 

7,1 Incl to ltr. HQSOS ETO to CofOrd, 6 Jun 43, 
sub: Agenda . . . for Discussion with Maj Gen John 
C. H. Lee, OO 350.05/3728, DRB AGO. 

71 Ltr. Barnes to Campbell, 3 Sep 42, sub: Rpt of 
U.S. Tech Mission to Great Britain OO 350.05/1243, 



lating to economy in use and manufac- 
ture, including substitution, simplification, 
standardization, elimination and salvage, 
and also . . . [of making] recommenda- 
tions for the adoption of improved prac- 
tice ... in order that the critical mate- 
rials available to the United Kingdom and 
the United States shall be used to the 
greatest advantage." Studies were to cover 
eighteen raw materials, including alumi- 
num, asbestos, copper, rubber, and zinc, 
and several processed items such as carbon 
electrodes and tempered roller bearings. 72 
Thus another significant effort was joined 
on research and development problems. 

Although the flow of information to 
Washington in the first eighteen months of 
the war was fuller than from Washington 
to headquarters in the United Kingdom, 
British officers stationed in the United 
States were in a position to send directly 
to British officials data on developments in 
America. Moreover, after midsummer of 

1943 the Ordnance Department sent the 
British between 3,000 and 5,000 technical 
and industrial reports every month. 73 In 
spite of an occasional complaint that some 
American officers were niggardly in giving 
out information on manufacturing proc- 
esses to British representatives in the 
States, by and large exchange was free 
enough to benefit both countries. 74 

An example of the kind of data submit- 
ted from London to the Ordnance Re- 
search and Development staffin the zone 
of the interior may indicate how much 
time and money collaboration saved even 
when British innovations were not adopted 
by the United States, or when experiments 
produced negative results. In January 

1944 Colonel Reed sent a report on Brit- 
ish tests of a two-speed epicyclic tank gen- 
erator drive. He included the cover sheet 
of the British Department of Tank Design 

and the Fighting Vehicle Establishments' 
report on the generator fitted to the Brit- 
ish Humber armored car Mark II. The 
two-speed epicyclic drive and a magnetic 
clutch were so set up that the generator 
would rotate at 3.17 times the engine 
speed; at 800 revolutions per minute the 
micro switch would automatically open 
and the generator would then drive at 1.1 
times the engine speed. Tests had revealed 
weaknesses in the magnetic clutch that 
were in process of correction. Designs of 
similar equipment for other armored fight- 
ing vehicles, Colonel Reed wrote, were 
under development. The American auto- 
motive experts did not attempt to install 
this type of generator in American tanks, 
but having at hand the information on 
British experiments made it unnecessary 
for the Detroit Tank- Automotive Center 

72 Memo, Dir and Production Div ASF 
for Coi'Ord. 19 Mar 43, sub: Organ of Anglo-Ameri- 
can Conservation Committee. OO 334.8/1 7850, DRB 

7 ! Interv, 15 Dec 50, with Col Frye, Chief of Re- 
search and Materials Div, R&D Serv, 1943-45. 

1 1 An extreme example of the inevitable difficulties 
that sometimes occurred was the situation that arose 
in ihe spring of 1945 when a "British Mud Commit- 
tee'' requested permission to visit various American 
manufacturing plants. The official interchange on 
matters that affected military design had been com- 
pleted, but the British committee had then expressed 
a strong wish to see establishments making automo- 
tive transmissions. The Ordnance Department ar- 
ranged for the visits with a few provisos about not 
interfering with production. When, according to the 
indignant report of one Ordnance officer, the British 
guests arrived at each of the several installations, they 
discussed very quickly anything relating to military 
work and proceeded to question company officials 
closely on American practice and plans for postwar 
production of automatic transmissions for buses, 
trucks, and private cars. Upon request for similar in- 
formation on British plans, the Americans were loid 
that the English group had not been authorized to 
divulge any detail. To this unusual behavior the 
American officers objected strenuously. Memo, Maj 
Parker Berg for Col John Raaen, OD Exec Off, 16 
Mar 45, sub: Visits by the British Mud Committee, 
British Relations, Barnes file, OHF. 



to undertake a similar investigation. 75 
More positive advantages were in time- 
saving through adoption of some British 
developments. An outstanding example 
was the Canal Defense Light, a powerful 
searchlight mounted in a specially designed 
General Grant tank turret, designed to aid 
in night river crossings. British research 
developed the CDL unaided. Delivery of 
complete drawings to the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, enabled the Ordnance Depart- 
ment to build 500 of these special turrets 
in eighteen months, whereas at least two 
years of preliminary work would have 
been necessary otherwise. 7H The fact that 
the CDL device was not widely used did 
not diminish the value of the collaboration. 

Nor was exchange confined to the 
United States and the United Kingdom. 
In addition to British intelligence findings 
sometimes relayed to the Office, Chief of 
Ordnance, from the British Supply Mis- 
sion in Washington, the Canadians and 
Australians supplied considerable useful 
data. From the latter came information on 
Japanese weapons that supplemented what 
American intelligence found. Frequently 
the Australian reports came by way of 
London, inasmuch as full liaison dictated 
having the information available to British 
as well as to American Ordnance. 77 The 
United States reciprocated by giving to 
British Empire representatives complete 
copies of the monthly and semimonthly 
reports on all research and development 
projects and releasing detailed drawings 
and other specific data when requested. 78 
With other allies, exchange was limited by 
circumstance. The Combined Chiefs of 
Staff early in 1944 arrived at a statement 
of policy on release of information to the 
Chinese by making the criterion the im- 
mediate usefulness of data to the Chinese 
Army in resisting Japan. 79 When political 

reasons made it desirable to give to Chinese 
military observers or military missions ac- 
cess to British and American military es- 
tablishments, special instructions were to 
be drawn up in advance stipulating ex- 
pressly what was not to be shown. As the 
Chinese had little technical data to trade 
other than information derived from study 
of captured Japanese weapons, that plan 
seemed reasonable. 80 

The problem with the USSR was less 
simple. The Russians were ready to trans- 
mit through the American ambassador in 
Moscow information on captured German 
ordnance and comments upon the per- 
formance of British and American equip- 
ment supplied under lend-lease, but 
showed no willingness to share with their 

77 L:r. Col Reed to Tech Div OCO, 5 Jan 44, sub: 
Two-speed Epicvclic Generator Drive, OO 
350.05/8760, DRB AGO. 

70 (1) Ltr, TAG to CofOrd, 22 Nov 42, sub: CDL 
Equipment, OO 350.05/1949, DRB AGO. (2) Ltr, 
Gen Barnes to CG Hq SOS, 4 Feb 43, sub: CDL 
Equipment, filed in Final Hist Rpt, AFV and Weap- 
ons Sec, Hq RTOUSA, V-E Day, OHF. (3) Interv, 1 
Dec 50, with Maj John H. Savage, Tank and Auto 
Br, R&D Serv. 

77 (1) Ltr, British Supply Mission to Tech Div 
OCO, 6 Nov 43. sub: Pacific Warfare Tank Types, 
OO 350.05/7211. (2) Ltr, Special Advisor Small 
Arms Production, Canadian Dept of Munitions and 
Supply, to CofOrd 26 Oct 42, OO 350.05/1534. (3) 
Ltr, Inspection Bd of U.K. and Canada Tech Services 
to Tech Div OCO, 10 Aug 43, OO 350.05/4754. (4) 
Ltr, Australian Mil Mission to Ord Tech Intel Div, 1 
Sep 43, sub: Japanese Bombs, OO 350.05/530 1 . (5) 
Ltr, Hq ETO to CofOrd, 23 Nov 43, sub: Japanese 
Light Tank M2595. Metallurgical Features, OO 
350.05/7786. All in DRB AGO. 

78 See ltr cited n. 64. | 

79 The Combined Chiefs of Staff consisted of the 
U.S. Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff or 
their designated representatives in Washington. 

8 "(1) Ltr, TAG to CG's AAF, AGF, ASF, 
USAFCBI (Rear Ech), USAFCBI (Forward Ech), 21 
Jan 44, sub: Disclosure of Mil Information to the Chi- 
nese. OO 350.05/8925. (2) Incl to memo, Chief of 
Small Arms Br, Tech Div OCO, for Ord Intel Unit, 
6 Nov 42, sub: Small Arms (Japanese), OO 
350.05/6017. Both in DRB AGO. 



allies the fruits of Soviet military scientific 
research.* 1 When, in the spring of 1943, 
the Ordnance Department was requested 
by the Joint Intelligence Committee to 
make recommendations on what disclo- 
sures should be made to Russia, the Ord- 
nance Department listed several that 
should be excluded. The shaped charge 
was one. "The entire effectiveness of 
shaped charges," the Ordnance Depart- 
ment indorsement stated, "depends upon 
the detailed design of the round and this 
in turn upon the principles of operation. 
It is believed inexpedient to release this in- 
formation." Similarly, data on the prox- 
imity fuze were not to be released. For .30- 
caliber and .50-caliber incendiary am- 
muntion, specifications and round draw- 
ings might be sent, but not details of the 
manufacturing processes. As the effective- 
ness of this type of incendiary ammunition 
against aircraft self-sealing tanks de- 
pended "entirely upon the dimensions of 
the bullet tip," the manufacturing proc- 
esses whereby those dimensions were ob- 
tained and the cold-working process that 
made the bullet nose sufficiently brittle 
were pronounced to be a military secret. 
Yet probably because the United States 
was supplying Russia with a large amount 
of equipment, the Ordnance Department 
felt justified in requesting from the USSR 
answers to a number of specific questions. 
For example, did Russian experience show 
single or dual tires to be better for mud op- 
eration and what was the type of tread de- 
sign and construction? Were the Russians 
using rubber on shear-type bogie wheels 
and how good was it? Was crude or syn- 
thetic rubber used for tire repair? If syn- 
thetic, what kind? And if a combination, 
what composition? Still more searching 
and less likely to elicit answers were ques- 
tions about Russian antitank mines, 

grenades, and self-destroying shell fuzes. 82 
The question of exchange dragged on 
into the fall, but at the Teheran Confer- 
ence an agreement was reached calling for 
reciprocal exchange of data on rockets. 83 
Accordingly, when a military mission went 
to Moscow in April 1944, the Ordnance 
Technical Intelligence unit attached was 
instructed to be ready to give out informa- 
tion on American rocket developments 
and, in return, to learn essentials on Rus- 
sian. The primary purpose of this Ord- 
nance unit was to study and send back to 
the States items of German equipment 
that the Russians had captured but which 
had not yet appeared on the Western 
Front. Consequently, when the list of ques- 
tions prepared by the Ordnance team con- 
cerning the detailed characteristics of 
Russian rockets went to the Soviet Foreign 
Office, the American officers were re- 
minded that the Ordnance group had 
been admitted to Moscow to study Ger- 
man weapons, not Russian. There the 
matter ended. 

The collection of German materiel on 
exhibit in Moscow was, however, so exten- 
sive as to be well worth careful exami- 
nation. Many items were new to the 
American experts at that time. Most valu- 
able perhaps were a German 88- mm. Pak 
43 and a 75/55-mm. antitank gun, one of 
each of which the American unit was per- 
mitted to ship back to Aberdeen. There 
was also an array of other vehicles and 
weapons, a good many of Czechoslovakian, 

Paraphrase of telegram, Moscow to Dept of 
State, 5 Jun 42. OO 350.05/657, DRB AGO. 

1st Ind, 3 May 43, to memo, Secy Joint Intel 
Committee, Combined Chiefs of Staff, for CofOrd, 9 
Apr 43. sub: Disclosure of Tech Information to 
USSR, OO 350.05/3033, DRB AGO. 

K;i Incl to memo, OCO for Joint Intel Committee, 
19 Nov 43, sub: Disclosure of Tech Information to 
USSR, OO 350.05/7457. DRB AGO. 



French, Hungarian, Italian, or other na- 
tional origin. A Russian major general was 
in charge of the exhibit and had a large, 
competent staff of specialists ready to dis- 
cuss with the Americans the noteworthy 
features of the captured equipment. The 
Ordnance unit took careful photographs 
and notes, sent long reports back to the 
States, and shipped to Aberdeen speci- 
mens of a good many items as well. Fur- 
thermore, a series of meetings held at the 
Foreign Office produced some information 
from tank experts of the Red Army and 
automotive engineers, though the historian 
of the American mission observed: "Our 
operations were , , . limited by the fact 
that all contacts had to clear through the 
foreign office resulting in a considerable 
delay and . . . the additional barrier of 
the presence of an officer of the foreign of- 
fice ... at all conferences." 84 

Some ordnance of Russian design was 
on hand at Aberdeen Proving Ground 
after 1942, for leaders of the USSR, con- 
cerned with getting a steady flow of mate- 
riel to the Russo-German battle front, saw- 
that some give to balance the take was in- 
escapable. Thus a Russian T34 tank 
mounting a 75.2-mm. cannon was pre- 
sented to the Proving Ground in 1943. 
Nevertheless, when the foreign materiel 
staff there cut out a piece of the T34's 
frontal armor to analyze metallurgically, 
the Soviet delegation, on discovering such 
mayhem, protested vigorously. The tank 

had been donated to the museum, not to 
the laboratory. A piece of American armor 
plate was hastily welded back into the 
hole; the Russian plate was subjected to 
thorough study. 85 

Free exchange of technical data between 
the Western Allies and the USSR was 
never obtained. Requests of the Ordnance 
Technical Intelligence unit in Moscow to 
visit the battle fronts or Soviet proving 
grounds were refused. By late fall of 1944, 
as the Allied advance through France and 
Luxembourg was making available ample 
information about German equipment of 
all types, the Ordnance mission to Mos- 
cow was dissolved. What the United 
States learned about Soviet ordnance dur- 
ing World War II largely came from mate- 
riel captured from the Germans who had 
taken it from the Red Army in battle, from 
interviews with prisoners who had served 
in campaigns in the USSR, and, toward 
the end of the war, from captured German 
documents. 8,i After V-E Day Ordnance 
Technical Intelligence units were able to 
study more carefully Soviet equipment 
picked up in Germany. These studies 
formed the backbone of knowledge the 
United States Army assembled on Soviet 

81 Hist of Ord Intel Unit — Russian, in Hist of Ord 
Tech Intel, OHF. 

85 Interv with Col Jarrett, 25 Oct 50. 

86 See above, n. 84. 


The Search for Greater Mobility 
in Ground Warfare 

Factors Determining Vehicular Development 

The keynote of U.S. Army operations in 
World War II was sounded by the roar of 
the internal-combustion engine. Two dec- 
ades of American automotive research and 
development had relegated animal power, 
the major tactical prime mover of 191 7-18, 
to the category of military curiosa. Billions 
of mechanical horsepower in more than 
two million combat and transport vehicles 
supplied by the Ordnance Department 
lent American armies unprecedented mo- 
bility and maneuverability, two of the 
primary requisites for attaining the ulti- 
mate objective of military operations — the 
destruction of hostile military forces in 
battle. 1 

Destruction itself is the result of fire 
power, but fire power minus ability to 
maneuver is ineffective both in offense and 
in defense. 2 World War I demonstrated 
that offensive fire power lacking a high de- 
gree of battlefield mobility cannot, even 
though quantitatively vastly superior, force 
a decision over an equally static, resolute 
defender suitably armed for his role. A 
swath of machine gun fire against unpro- 
tected assault infantry produced the same 
result as the murderous hail of artillery 
fire: it forced the opponent into the bowels 
of the earth, into safety, instead of anni- 

hilating him. Warfare then deteriorated 
into a meaningless contest of stamina in 
which ephemeral victor's laurels went to 
the captor of a few acres of shell-pocked 
soil. Insatiable, the Moloch of attrition was 
also impartial, demanding ruinous sacri- 
fices from victor and vanquished alike. 
With neither side able to break the stale- 
mate with the means at hand, both 
searched frantically for ways in which to 
regain freedom of maneuver. The British 
were the first to come up with a workable 
solution: mechanical transport with fire 
power and crew protection in a vehicle 
capable of traversing almost any kind of 
terrain over which foot troops would have 
to advance. The cover name given the 
contrivance in its development stage hung 
on; the track-laying armored combat 
vehicle became known as the tank. 

Advantageous as it proved in lending the 
attacker once more the ability to move on 
the field of battle, the tank of 1 9 1 6- 1 8 was 
far from a panacea for the ills of position 
warfare. To begin with, the tank itself was a 
hulking, lumbering affair that traveled 
more slowly cross country than man could 

1 (1) Civ Production Admin, Official Munitions 
Production of the United States, July 1, 1940 to Au- 
gust 31, 1945, 1 May 1947 (hereafter cited as 
OMPUS), pp. 225-55, OHF. (2) FM 100-5, FS Regu- 
lations: Operations. 

For a discussion of fire power, see Ch. XI, below. 



walk. Quite apart from its thin coat of 
armor — crew protection against only 
small arms fire — its speed, or lack of speed, 
spelled extreme vulnerability to hostile de- 
fensive weapons. Secondly, friendly artil- 
lery, as well as supply, was drawn by horse, 
or at best, slow-speed tractor, and as such 
was incapable of rolling fast enough cross 
country to support a sustained advance in 
the face of organized resistance. Trucks, 
though used for transporting infantry, 
were road bound. Their solid rubber tires, 
primitive springing, and, above all, lack of 
adequate motive power, precluded their 
use save on improved traffic routes. The 
division, the basic tactical troop unit, 
could move as a whole only on foot or by 
rail. True mobility of ground forces in 
combat was not to be achieved until tech- 
nology perfected mechanical transport to 
the point where its inherent character- 
istics — speed, great tractive power, and 
economy of operation — could be employed 
in front and rear echelons alike, and an 
entire army could fight on the move over 
most types of terrain. By 1939 that point 
had been reached. 

World War II soon dispelled whatever 
doubts existed about the merits of mere 
fire power, however concentrated, versus 
a lesser degree of fire power coupled with 
mobility. The fall of France dramatically 
proved that an army unable or unwilling 
to maneuver was doomed when con- 
fronted by an adversary resorting to highly 
mobile conduct of operations. Intricate 
fortifications bristling with heavy artil- 
lery — the embodiment of memories of 
1914-18 — proved worse than useless when 
the enemy chose to bypass rather than 
breach them. Tanks employed as pillboxes 
instead of mobile weapons to carry the 
fight to the enemy were deathtraps pure 
and simple. Throughout the war the same 

lessons were repeated over and over again. 
Mobile attack invariably carried the day 
over immobile defense, whether its name 
was Maginot Line, Atlantic Wall, or Sieg- 
fried Line. In 1940 the German tide in 
little over a month engulfed the same 
blood-drenched territory between the Ger- 
man frontier and Paris that in World War 
I had been the scene of four years of 
struggle. In 1944 the relentless sweep of 
American mechanized armies covered the 
same ground in less than twenty days. 

Remarkable enough in itself, the com- 
plete motorization of U.S. ground forces, 
the basis for their unrivaled striking power, 
becomes even more extraordinary in the 
light of the swiftness with which it was ac- 
complished. Beginning with only a hand- 
ful of completely developed military motor 
vehicles at the outbreak of war in Europe, 
the Ordnance Department eventually fur- 
nished to the Allies some forty major types 
of combat vehicles and sixty-odd major 
types of transport vehicles. 3 This achieve- 
ment became possible only through closest 
co-operation with industry, a long-stand- 
ing tradition in Ordnance automotive re- 
search and development. During the 
interwar years of lean funds and public 
apathy toward armaments, only assistance 
such as that of the Ordnance Advisory 
Committee, sponsored by the American 
Society of Automotive Engineers, had 
enabled the Ordnance Department to 
keep step with developments abroad/ 
With the advent of war challenging Amer- 
ica to outproduce the Axis in equipment 
capable of superior performance in all four 
corners of the earth, the Industry-Ord- 
nance team proved one of the most potent 
weapons in the arsenal of democracy. 
Automotive, metallurgical, electrical, and 

! Campbell, Industry- Ordnance Team, p. 228. 
1 Barnes, Weapons of World War II, p. 199. 



rubber engineers from industry, serving on 
numerous specialized advisory boards and 
committees, helped solve a million and 
one perplexing, sometimes seemingly in- 
superable, problems arising over the de- 
sign of ordnance vehicles. The military 
and civilian engineers of the Ordnance 
Department in turn familiarized their col- 
leagues with the many particular require- 
ments of military motor transport foreign 
to private industry. 

Paramount in the design of any military 
motor vehicle stood reliability. Since 
American equipment saw action thou- 
sands of ocean miles away from its fac- 
tories, distance alone ruled out shuttling 
to the United States for major overhaul. 
Not even the huge industrial plant of 
America would have sufficed to equip U.S. 
and Allied troops if part of industry were 
devoted to the repair rather than the pro- 
duction of weapons. Finally, shipping 
space was so limited throughout the war 
that each cubic foot diverted from the 
build-up of Allied strength overseas post- 
poned the prospect of victory. Once over- 
seas, motor vehicles had to be capable of 
traveling under their own power the oft- 
times considerable distances from dockside 
to battlefield before embarking on their 
intended missions. Mechanical failure in 
action was intolerable. Each deadlined 
tank and truck impaired the striking 
power of Allied ground forces, put even 
greater strain on already overburdened 
supply lines, and added to the workload of 
rear area maintenance and repair facil- 
ities. However well suited commercially 
produced vehicles were for civilian use, 
they were unable to withstand the rigors 
of military employment. Though some 
classes, notably wheeled transport vehicles, 
were largely adapted from standard com- 
mercial design, these too required numer- 

ous modifications emphasizing cross-coun- 
try mobility, ruggedness, dustproofing, 
waterproofing, corrosion-proofing, mini- 
mum bulk, and minimum weight. Ap- 
pearance of vehicles and components had 
to yield to the purpose they were meant to 
serve. Ease of operation, maintenance, re- 
pair, and replacement were prerequisite to 
efficient field service. 3 

Perhaps the broadest and most basic 
question to be answered was whether large 
or small-size transport best answered mili- 
tary needs. Honest differences of opinion 
existed, with each proponent mustering 
almost equally cogent arguments. Those 
favoring large vehicles set forth the econ- 
omies of reduced over-all requirements in 
material, labor, and fuel, and in operating 
and maintenance personnel; in rebuttal, 
the other camp pointed out the greater 
maneuverability of small vehicles and 
their greater ease of operation and mainte- 
nance, which required less highly skilled 
manpower. Less bulky to ship, moreover, 
light trucks could be sent overseas in 
greater numbers than heavy types, and 
the more trucks an army had in the field, 
the less vulnerable it was to immobilization 
for lack of transportation. The ultimate 
decision in favor of the small vehicle gave 
little cause for regret: 

The greatest advantage in equipment the 
United States has enjoyed on the ground in 
the fighting so far [wrote General Marshall 
in the summer of 1945], has been in our mul- 
tiple-drive motor equipment, principally the 
jeep and the 2 '/2-ton truck. These are the in- 
struments which have moved the United 
States troops in battle while the German 
Army, despite the fearful reputation of its 
'panzer armies' early in the war still de- 
pended heavily on animal transport for its 

■' Col. Joseph M. Colby, "Tank and Automotive 
Development," Journal of Applied Physics, XVI, 12, 
(1945), 767. 



regular infantry divisions. The United States, 
profiting from the mass-production achieve- 
ments of its automotive industry, made all its 
forces truck-drawn and had enough trucks 
left over to supply the British armies with 
large numbers of motor vehicles and send 
tremendous quantities to the Red Army." 

Not so unqualified was the praise ac- 
corded Ordnance track-laying equipment, 
especially when it came to that best known 
of combat vehicles, the tank. From the 
landing of U.S. troops in North Africa 
until V-E Day, tanks drew increasingly 
severe criticism. In January 1945 Hanson 
Baldwin wrote in The New York Times: 

Why at this late stage in the war are Amer- 
ican tanks inferior to the enemy's? That they 
are inferior the fighting in Normandy 
showed, and the recent battles in the 
Ardennes have again emphatically demon- 
strated. This has been denied, explained 
away and hushed up, but the men who are 
fighting our tanks against much heavier, 
better armored and more powerfully armed 
German monsters know the truth. It is high 
time that Congress got to the bottom of a 
situation that does no credit to the War De- 
partment. This does not mean that our tanks 
are bad. They are not; they are good. They 
are the best tanks in the world — next to the 
Germans'. 7 

And on 22 March The Washington Post took 
up the cudgel with the statement: 

A Bronx cheer comes out of Germany to 
greet the news that the Pershing tank has 
gone into mass production. It is the opinion 
of the men at the front, apparently, that they 
will get the new tank in numbers when it is 
no longer needed, i. e., when the war is over 
... an investigation is thoroughly in order. 
It should take up the reasons for the long de- 
lay in getting the Pershing into production. 
It should likewise find out why our tanks are 
inferior to the enemy's. 

No investigation ever materialized. The 
facts were clear. From the very beginning 
of the tank program, the Army had staked 

its fortunes on the medium tank as the 
fighting tank of its armored divisions and, 
for better or for worse, remained unshaken 
in its choice until 24 January 1945 when, 
after extensive testing, the Armored Board 
finally recommended that the Pershing or, 
as it was then known, the heavy tank 
T26E3, be considered battleworthy after 
incorporation of minor modifications, and 
be standardized and shipped to troops. 8 
Up to then no recommendations of the 
Ordnance Department had been able to 
persuade the using arms to adopt a 
heavier vehicle than the Sherman. A 
heavy tank, the M6, had been developed, 
standardized, and put into production in 
1942, but a letter from the commanding 
general of the Armored Force to the com- 
manding general of the Army Ground 
Forces on 7 December of that year stated 
that because of its sixty-ton weight and 
limited tactical use no requirement for it 
existed. H The same laconic "no require- 
ment" was the standard reply to any pro- 
posed vehicle violating the weight limits of 
Army Regulations 850-15, which pre- 
scribed that no tank weigh more than 30 
tons or exceed 103 inches in width, though 
as one Ordnance tank specialist observed, 
Hitler's tanks violated this American rule. 10 
That, tank for tank, neither the Ameri- 
can Grant nor its successor, the Sherman, 
was a match for the more heavily armored 
and armed German Tiger, U.S. troops 

Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United States 
Army, July 1, 1943 to June 30, 1945, pp. 95-96. 

7 The New fork 7 imes, January 5, 1945, p. 4. 

" Ltr, Armored Bd to CG AGF, 20 Jan 45, sub: 
Heavv Tank T26E3 — Recommendation for Approval 
as Battleworthy, OO 470.8/2192 Tank, DRB AGO. 

" Ltr, CG Armored Force to CG AGF, 7 Dec 42, 
470.8/4 GNOHD, copy in Hist of Heavy Tanks M6, 

10 Col. Joseph M. Colby, "From Designer to 
Fighter," Armored Cavalry Journal, LIX, 1 (1950), p. 



learned in the early days of the fighting in 
North Africa. Nor were the troops' chances 
any better when, in Italy and France, they 
came up against the Panther. The only un- 
questioned advantages of the American 
vehicles were their reliability and their 
somewhat greater radius of action. For the 
rest, they had to depend on superiority in 
numbers to surround their adversaries and 
knock them out in flank attacks, "But," as 
General of the Army Omar N. Bradley ob- 
served, "this willingness to expend Sher- 
mans offered little comfort to the crews 
who were forced to expend themselves as 
well." 11 Well known though they were to 
the men at the front, the inadequacies of 
the Sherman failed to sway the using arms 
in their determination that this was the very 
tank with which to defeat Germany. As 
early as August 1943 the Ordnance De- 
partment pointed out that the Sherman was 
becoming more obsolescent each month 
and urged the standardization of two types 
of the newly developed T20-series tanks, 
the T23E3 and T20E3, in order to set up 
production facilities for these better gunned 
and better armored vehicles. "Attention is 
invited to the fact that unless action along 
this line is taken at an early date it will not 
be possible to supply field units with any 
quantity of the T20 series tanks during the 
calendar year 1944 . . . ," wrote General 
Barnes. The request was denied. 1 - When 
Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, Commanding 
General, ETO, in November 1943 recom- 
mended that highest priority be given the 
development of the T26, armed with a 
90-mm. gun, in order to counter the in- 
creased armor protection and fire power 
of German vehicles, ,!1 the Army Ground 
Forces voiced its misgivings about the 
trend toward heavy tanks as inconsistent 
with American combat doctrine. A mem- 
orandum from Brig. Gen. William F. 

Dean, the chief of the Requirements Divi- 
sion, AGF, to General McNair remarked: 

. . . [the radiogram from General Devers] 
intensifies the pressure upon Army Ground 
Forces to immediately commit ourselves to 
the early production of a thick-skinned tank 
carrying the 90-mm. Gun. The British and 
the Ordnance have been convinced for some 
time that we should initiate such procure- 
ment without further delay. . . . Action 
recommended: a. That the Army Ground 
Forces go on record as not favorably consid- 
ering procurement of T26 at this time. b. That 
any further procurement be deferred pending 
full service test of pilot models. 

General McNair. in reply, approved those 
recommendations, adding, "I see no reason 
to alter our previous stand in reply r to a 
communication from the Armored Com- 
mand — essentially that we should defeat 
Germany by use of the M-4 series of me- 
dium tanks. There has been no factual 
developments overseas, so far as I know, 
to challenge the superiority of the M-4." 14 
Once again the verdict read that no re- 
quirement existed at that time for a 
medium or heavy tank of the T26 type. 1 "' 
By D Day the status of American armor 
was as precarious as that of the panzer 
divisions in 194 1-42, at which time Ger- 
many had lost qualitative superiority on 
the battlefield to the Soviet Union. Only 

11 Omar N. Bradley, A Soldier's Story (New York. 
1951), p. 41. 

'- 5th Ind. Chief of Tech Div OCO for Hq ASF. 
1 2 Aug 43, and 6th Ind, Hq ASF for OCO Tech Div : 
23 Aug 43, to basic, memo, Asst Chief T- AC for Chief 
of Ind Div OCO. 20 Jul 43. OO 470.8/103 Tank. 

' ' Radiogram, USFOR London to WAR, signed 
Devers, 14 Nov 43. CM-IN 8556, 470. 8/61 1 Tanks. 

11 (1) Memo, Requirements Div AGF for CG AGF, 
18 Nov 43, and (2) memo, CG AGF for Requirements 
Div AGF. 19 Nov 43, Binder 1, AGF McNair file 
470.8, DRB AGO. 

'■"> Memo, CG AGF for CofS, 9 Dec 43, Binder 1, 
AGF McNair file 470.8, DRB AGO. 



the causes underlying these crises differed. 
The American situation was one of choice, 
while that of the Germans had been one of 
necessity. Before beginning its Eastern 
Campaign Germany, counting on sub- 
jugating the Red Army in the customary 
few months of blitzkrieg, had let armor 
development lag, while a badly informed 
intelligence apparatus fed the belief that 
existing panzer types far outstripped any- 
thing the Russians had been able to build. 
As a result, German tanks that crossed the 
Soviet frontier during the morning hours 
of 21 June 1941 were identical with those 
that the year before had terrorized the 
world by their exploits in France. They all 
were there: the machine-gun-toting Pan- 
zer I which lasted exactly thirteen days 
before being recommended for retirement 
as a burden on the troops; the Panzer II 
with its 20-mm. cannon, so ineffective that 
production of the series stopped the month 
after the invasion; 1(; the Panzer III with 
its face lifted by the addition of armor and 
a 50-mm. gun replacing the former 
37-mm. primary armament; and finally 
the Panzer IV, unchanged from the 1940 
version save for similarly strengthened 
armor protection. Initial successes of the 
German armies bade fair to substantiate 
the estimates of Soviet tanks. Knifing their 
way through unorganized resistance, the 
panzers took a murderous toll of anti- 
quated Russian machines. But even within 
the first two weeks of the campaign, an 
ominous note was sounded in the East: 
reports of Soviet vehicles topping anything 
the Germans had in the way of armament 
and armor. 17 Though first data turned out 
as exaggerated as is usual in the case of 
surprise encounters of new weapons in 
combat, the truth was formidable enough. 
The panzer divisions had stumbled on the 
first-line tanks of the Russians: the 32-ton 

T34, and the 52-ton KVI which out- 
gunned, outarmored, and outmaneuvered 
every other tank then on the battlefield. 18 
At that time began the race of gun power 
against armor protection which, for the 
rest of the war, was to become the biggest 
problem of both Allied and Axis designers. 

A large part of Germany's tremendous 
losses during the first six months of cam- 
paigning in the East were, to be sure, due 
to factors other than enemy action. 1! * The 
greatest foe of mechanized equipment, for 
example, turned out to be the muddy 
seasons and, axiomatically, the Russian 
winter. In 1941, as in the years following, 
these natural phenomena wreaked more 
havoc with German fighting strength than 
Allied ground and air efforts combined.-" 
Lacking the ground clearance and flota- 
tion system of their Soviet counterparts, 
German vehicles helplessly floundered in 
the bottomless quagmires of autumn and 
spring mud. Attempts to plow forcefully 
ahead only compounded disaster. Engines 
and bearings burned out, gears stripped, 
and, once winter frost or summer sun 
made possible the resumption of move- 
ment, the countryside was littered with 

">(i; Haider Diary. 23 Dec 40, and 4 Jul 41, 
OCMH. ( 2) MS #'P-059 ( Mueller-Hillcbrand), 

17 (1) Haider Diary, 25Jun 41. OCMII. (2) Heinz 
Guderian, Enrmejungen eines Soldaten (Heidelberg, 
1951), p. 148. 

1K KV stood for Klementi Voroshilov, who as Com- 
missar of Defense had been instrumental in the devel- 
opment of the Soviet armored program. 

" From June to December 1941 total tank losses 
amounted 'to 2.757. MS # P-059 (Mueller-Hille- 
brand). OCMH. 

-" Graphic descriptions of German difficulties in 
the conduct of mechanized warfare during autumn, 
winter, and spring in the Soviet Union may be found 
in Department of the Army pamphlets No. 20-230, 
"Russian Combat Methods in World War II"; No. 
20-290, "Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign"; 
and No. 20-291, "Effects of Climate on Combat in 
European Russia." 



unsalvageable wrecks. The trials of winter 
proved equally severe since neither Ger- 
man soldiers nor their weapons were 
equipped to fight in the bitter cold. The 
Russians, adapted to the climate and ter- 
rain of their homeland, held the upper 
hand. 21 Decimated and nearly stripped of 
arms, the Wehrmacht emerging from its 
first winter in the East was no longer the 
fighting machine of the blitz years. Its 
cadre of battle-tempered veterans had 
been shockingly thinned and in another 
year, after Stalingrad, would be only a 
memory. Replacements, trained in the 
short period that wartime permits for this 
purpose to friend and foe alike, were at 
best only substitutes. No superweapon, 
however powerful, could ever fill that void. 

Chastened by their encounter with 
Soviet armor and antitank defenses, the 
Germans proceeded to overmatch them. 
No other course was open. In 1941 pro- 
duction had fallen to some 500 vehicles 
short of six months' battle losses, 22 and 
even with all-out industrial mobilization 
Germany lacked the plant facilities to 
compromise quality to get quantity. With 
new vehicle designs still in the develop- 
ment stage but more powerful guns ready 
to be installed, the first step was improvi- 
sation. Existing tanks were up-gunned and 
up-armored, albeit with little permanent 
success since the USSR invariably was 
prompt in countering with similar meas- 
ures. Moreover, each modification en- 
tailed additional weight and, in the 
absence of equal increases in power and 
flotation, contributed nothing toward 
bridging the gap between Russian and 
German mobility and maneuverability. 
On the contrary, the added strain on 
already overloaded engines and gear 
trains made German tanks less and less 
reliable. 23 But in German eyes the mission 
of the tank — the same, incidentally, as in 

American combat doctrine, break-through 
and exploitation — demanded that fire 
power and armor keep step with the evolu- 
tion of defensive weapons. 

Any conclusion that the German trend 
toward heavier vehicles denoted a de- 
parture from the tried and proven con- 
cepts of armored warfare would be erro- 
neous. German service schools in 1943, for 
example, reiterated the maxims that had 
been the key to the earlier successes of the 
panzer divisions. "The mission of the tank 
unit," students were taught, "consists of 
opening the way for other elements [of the 
armored division] into and through the 
enemy. All missions (combat missions) are 
executed by means of the concerted unit attack, in 
which antitank weapons and artillery are 
to be annihilated and hostile armored for- 
mations counteracted." 24 In other words, 
the tank had to be capable of overcoming 
all types of hostile weapons, which is a 
long way from saying that these were its 
primary objectives. American authorities 
determining the characteristics of U.S. 
armor held different views. "There can be 
no basis for the T26 [9Q-mm. gun] tank," 
Army Ground Forces officially replied to 
the suggestion of introducing the better 
armed and armored, and consequently 
heavier, vehicle than the Sherman, "other 

21 (1) Oberknmmando des Heeres, Organisations Abteil- 
ung(III), Behragzum KTB 9.1.1942. (2) Ltr, AOK2 
to Oberkommando Herresgruppe Mitte, Betr: Winler- 
Erfahrungen, 28 May 43, H Gr Mitte Abt la, Anlagen 
zum Kriegstagebuch: Erfahrungsberichte , Heft 3. (3) Ex- 
perience Rpt, 24: Pz Div, 19 May 44, Panzer -Offtzier 
beim Chef Generalstab des Heeres, Erfahrungsberichte , Akte 
E, Band3. All in GMDS DRB AGO. 

22 MS # P-059 (Mueller-Hillebrand), OCMH. 
Fuehreruortrag am 28.6.44, General Inspekteur der 

Panzertruppen, Fuehrer Vortrags Notizen II, GMDS DRB 

21 Panzer-Lehrgaenge "Panther," Kommandeur, Auszug 
aus dem Vortrag des Major Streit vor den Kommandeuren 
(Kommandeur Lehrgang Erlangen), September 1943, in 
miscellaneous correspondence 1944, General Inspekteur 
der Panzertruppen, GMDS DRB AGO. 



than the conception of a tank versus tank 
duel — which is believed unsound and un- 
necessary. Both British and American 
battle experience has demonstrated that 
the antitank gun in suitable numbers and 
disposed properly is the master of the tank. 
Antitank guns either must be put out by 
armored infantry or equivalent means, or 
avoided by tanks. The primary mission of 
tanks is the destruction of those hostile ele- 
ments which are vulnerable to them — not 
antitank guns." - 5 

Underlying the Ordnance Depart- 
ment's insistence on introducing a basic- 
ally new tank was its awareness of the 
inherent limitations of the Sherman, or for 
that matter, of any tank, for despite its far- 
from-fragile appearance, a tank represents 
a mechanism as finely balanced as a 
watch. Its merits lie in the fact that it com- 
bines four essential military character- 
istics: fire power, maneuverability, speed, 
and crew protection. Each of these is, in 
the final analysis, a function of weight. 
Cross-country mobility, for example, re- 
quires low unit ground pressure, which 
means either a light hull — thin armor, 
light armament, light power train — or else 
a wider, and therefore heavier, track with 
a correspondingly larger and heavier en- 
gine and transmission. During World War 
II no tank of practical size could simul- 
taneously feature maximum armor, fire 
power, speed, and maneuverability. Every 
vehicle was a compromise, with qualities 
deemed more desirable by its users accen- 
tuated at the expense of those they con- 
sidered of lesser importance. But once a 
satisfactory compromise had been devised, 
further modifications of major import 
would inevitably upset that balance and 
punish the tank by limiting its effective- 
ness and reliability. It was precisely this 
danger that loomed in the case of the 

Its early participation in the fighting in 
North Africa had shown the Sherman to 
be in every respect superior to the Axis 
tanks then on the battlefield. It had con- 
tributed a large share to the British victory 
at El Alamein, its baptism of fire, and had 
played a prominent role in the westward 
pursuit of the Italo-German forces. The 
British forces had the highest praise for the 
one tank that finally ended a long reign of 
German qualitative superiority. German 
reports, in turn, gloomily forecast the 
doom of Rommel's troops unless equip- 
ment capable of dealing with the new- 
American vehicles was sent promptly and 
in force. 26 But only a few months later, 
during encounters with a token contingent 
of German Tiger tanks in Tunisia, the 
Sherman proved to be outgunned and out- 
armored — a state of affairs that became 
even more pronounced with the advent of 
the Panther tank in Italy. 

True, the Sherman had qualities not 
even remotely duplicated in any German 
vehicle. Time and again, for example, in 
both Africa and Italy it took enemy strong- 
holds in mountainous terrain that no Ger- 
man tank could hope to traverse. 27 In 
point of reliability, it similarly outshone 
both the notoriously undependable Tiger 
and the Panther. But it was small com- 

2: " Memo, CG AGF for CoiS, 30 Nov 43, sub: 
Heavier Armament for Tanks and Self- Propelled Ve- 
hicles, Binder 1, AGF McNair file 470.8, DRB AGO. 

- ,; (1) Rpt, Gen Barnes to Gen Devers, 18 Jan 43, 
sub: Ord Annex to Rpt of Visit Abroad, OHF. (2) 
OKD 385/153.1 quoted in Intel Summary 2, 6-13 
Feb 43, OCO-D, OHF. (3) OKD 451.25/417.1 and 
OKD 451 /136.1 quoted in Intel Summary 5, 8-15 
Mar 43, OCO-D, OHF. (4j Rpt, Abendmeldung DAK 
an Pz A OK vom 3.11 .1942 , A OK A frika files, GMDS 

27 (1) Bradley, op. cit., p. 87. (2) Inspection Rpt, 15 
May 44. Maj Gerlach OKH/InfAbt ReflVc (Pz Abw ), 
Bencht ueber die Frontmse zu H Gr C 28.4-6.5.44. GMDS 
DRB AGO. (3) War Diary, XIV, Armee KTB 18 Mai 
44, GMDS DRB AGO. (4) OI-335-44 cited in Intel 
Summary 53, 9-19 Aug 44, OCO-D, OHF. 



fort to the tanker to know that he could 
count on reaching the scene of action, if 
at the same time he was equally certain of 
adverse odds upward of two to one of ever 
leaving that scene alive. 

Placing American armored forces once 
more on a par with their opponents meant 
either up-gunning and up-armoring the 
Sherman or supplanting it with an entirely 
new vehicle. The first solution, Ordnance 
designers knew, would prove at best only a 
stopgap because the balance between fire 
power, speed, maneuverability, and crew 
protection that distinguished the tank in 
the days of El Alamein would be lost. Gen- 
eral Barnes opposed such a policy of im- 
provisation on principle, though for a long 
time without success. The inevitable result 
was that during the fighting in France, 
Belgium, and Germany the now badly 
overloaded Sherman not only was still out- 
gunned and outarmored but on too many 
occasions, particularly in mud, snow, and 
ice, outmaneuvered as well by the Pan- 
ther. The second solution, one that might 
have been adopted as early as August 1942 
when the first of the T20-serics tanks 
was released for production, came to pass 
only after General Barnes almost single- 
handedly overcame the determined op- 
position that for more than two years had 
prevented the introduction of a vehicle 
radically departing from the tried and 
true pattern of the Sherman. But while ac- 
colades for the Pershing tank from the 
ETO, proved, if nothing else, that the 
Ordnance Department's labors had not 
been in vain, one poignant question re- 
mained unanswered: Did the intervening 
advances in development warrant the 
delav in getting the new weapon onto the 
battlefield? 28 

From almost the first day of World War 
II, sharply differing points of view pre- 

vailed on the acceptability of new ground 
weapons. Two issues were involved: the 
development of items for which no formal 
requirement had been established, and the 
battle testing of new equipment. As to the 
first, Army Ground Forces, for example, 
vigorously opposed development of weap- 
ons that it considered not absolutely essen- 
tial, regardless of how much they might be 
desired by men in the field. The Ordnance 
Department, on the other hand, believed 
in maintaining a strong lead over the 
using services in the development of new 
items. For one thing, Ordnance techni- 
cians spent their entire service careers in 
the study of ordnance, so that their knowl- 
edge of the capabilities and inherent limi- 
tations of weapons exceeded that of line 
officers, whose careers were concerned 
with the tactical use of equipment. As 
Generalmajor Heinz Guderian, the father 
of the German panzer forces, once put it 
when reminded that all technicians were 
strangers to the truth: "Certainly there is 
a lot of lying, but one to two years as a rule 
uncover that fact, when the ideas of the 
technicians turn out to be unworkable. 
The tacticians also lie; but in that instance 
the truth comes out only after the next lost 
war, and then it is too late." 29 

In the case of tanks, the Ordnance view 
hardly proved incorrect. The tank capable 
of holding its own against enemy armor, 
in other words, the heavy tank advocated 
by the Department since 1942, proved in- 
dispensable in large-scale ground opera- 
tions. The Ordnance Department, which 

2S (1) OCO Tech Div, Hist of Medium Tank T20 
Series, OHF. (2) Col. Joseph M. Colby, "From De- 
signer to Fighter," Armored Cavalry Journal, LIX, 1 
(1950), 14. (3) Ltr, Harmon to Campbell, 10 Feb 45, 
OHF. (4) Barnes MS, Tank Development, OHF. 

M (1) Guderian, op. at., pp. 25-26. (2) AGF Study 
34, pp. 14-15, OHF. (3) Barnes MS, Tank Develop- 
ment, OHF. 



as late as 1943 was criticized for proposing 
such a vehicle, was barely a year there- 
after criticized for its absence from the 
battlefield. '\ . . our tanks when forced 
to engage in tank vs. tank action," wrote 
the Army Ground Forces in January 1945, 
"have had to close to short ranges in order 
to destroy the opposing tanks. The destruc- 
tion of the enemy has been accomplished 
at great cost in tank materiel and person- 
nel and is reflected in the current critical 
shortage of tanks." 30 

The issue of battle testing was more 
complex. Army Ground Forces insisted 
that no new weapons, however promising 
they looked, be sent overseas until a small 
number had been tested by the prospec- 
tive users and all corrections deemed nec- 
essary had been incorporated. Ordnance 
engineers for several reasons deplored the 
seemingly interminable delay in getting a 
new tank into action. ' 1 

Had the Germans been equally insistent 
on mechanical perfection and as reluctant 
to battle test new tanks, they would hardly 
have been able to regain the lead in fire 
power and armor once they lost it in 1942. 
As it was, they scored telling successes by 
rushing virtually the pilot models of their 
new heavy vehicles to the battlefield. Thus 
the Tiger, which to the very end of hostili- 
ties remained ridden with glaring mechan- 
ical weaknesses, was a formidable enough 
foe in action to become almost synony- 
mous with German prowess in weapons 
design. Similarly the Panther, with its 
high-velocity gun and sloping frontal 
armor, found no match in American tanks 
until the advent of the General Pershing 
in 1945. That the Panther in 1942 had 
been rushed from the drawing board to 
production line in a scant nine months 
and consequently was so full of the pro- 
verbial bugs that another year and a half 

passed before it was pronounced really fit 
for combat, detracted little from its killing 
power. In the ETO U.S. troops, whose 
Shermans mechanically outlasted their 
German adversaries as much as five to 
one, "were reaching a point where they 
were becoming afraid to fight in the M4 
[Sherman] due to lack of fire power." 32 

Perhaps the most vital clue to the Amer- 
ican tank problem during World War II 
could be found in that indefinable stand- 
ard of tactical utility, reliability, and du- 
rability called "battle worthiness" which, 
in effect, meant all things to all men. Time 
and again an alleged lack of that quality 
resulted in a delay in getting a heavier 
tank than the Sherman into action. More 
often than not the sole reason was the lim- 
ited durability of mechanical components. 
Yet no measuring stick, statistical or other- 
wise, was ever devised to ascertain the life 
expectancy of combat vehicles on the bat- 
tlefield. The Russian view, though founded 
on a much less complicated communica- 
tions problem, offered an interesting 
parallel in that respect. On the assumption 
that a tank was almost certain to be 
knocked out after a brief period of fight- 
ing, the Russians considered a lifetime of 
fourteen hours for its mechanical compo- 
nents to be excellent. American tanks, by 
comparison, were required to last for a 
minimum of forty hours. Arbitrary or not, 
this emphasis on durability rather than re- 

10 Ltr, CG AGF to CG ASF, 30 Jan 45, sub: Heavy 
Tanks T29 and T30, OHF. 

:n (1) Ltr, Campbell to Harmon, 21 Mar 45, OHF. 
(2) AGF Study 34, p. 15, OHF. (3) Barnes MS, Tank 
Development, OHF. 

(1) Barnes MS. Tank Development, OHF. (2) 
Ltr, Harmon to Campbell, 10 Feb 45, OHF. (3) Inter- 
rogation of Speer, CIOS Item 28, file XXVI-13, Reich 
Ministry of Armaments and War Production, DRB 
AGO. (4) Notes for Rpt to Hitler, 5 Mar 44, General 
Inspekteur der Panzertruppen, Fuehrer Vortrags Notizen, 



liability for the useful life of a tank de- 
prived American troops of weapons that 
might, with telling effect, have contributed 
toward shortening the war. 33 

The mobility of each combat and trans- 
port vehicle depended above all on the 
performance of its components. Power 
plant, gear trains, and the like had to 
function reliably and had to be properly 
attuned. Maximum output at minimum 
bulk and weight was particularly impor- 
tant because light-weight, heavy-duty ve- 
hicles required less power for just their 
own propulsion and furnished more for 
the job they were meant to do. Compo- 
nent development therefore comprised one 
of the principal phases of Ordnance auto- 
motive research and development during 
World War II. 

The magnitude of the work accom- 
plished precludes any comprehensive 
treatment save in scores of volumes. A tank 
had more than a dozen major components, 
each consisting of several subassemblies 
that in turn were made up of perhaps hun- 
dreds of parts. Over 25,000 separate parts 
in all went into a single tank, and each 
might require complete reworking to per- 
mit the construction of an improved ve- 
hicle. Space limitations alone dictate an 
account of only some high lights from the 
record. Others, intrinsically significant, 
are of too technical a nature to discuss 
here. So notable an innovation as the 
cross-drive transmission, for example, was 
as complex as it was promising. Hence, 
discussion in the following pages will deal 
only with the development of two vital but 
more readily described features — engines 
and flotation devices. 


The basic factor determining military 
mobility was the internal-combustion en- 

gine. Two of the obvious advantages of the 
internal-combustion engine over pack and 
draft animals were its greater power out- 
put per unit of weight and its ability to 
propel heavy loads at high speeds. From a 
military point of view, particularly that of 
an army with supply lines as long as those 
of U.S. forces in overseas theatres, its other 
characteristics were even more valuable. 
Fuels and lubricants took up less cargo 
space than forage and, unit for unit of de- 
livered energy, were less expensive. Motor 
vehicles were more easily transported by 
rail and water than animals and required 
fewer men with less training for their op- 
eration. In service, the gasoline or diesel 
engine did not eat when it was not work- 
ing, was not subject to fatigue, and was 
less vulnerable to injuries than the horse 
and mule. 

To be suitable for military purposes, en- 
gines had to pass tests far more stringent 
than for commercial purposes. They had 
to function with equal certainty in tropi- 
cal heat and arctic cold, in desert sand- 
storms andjungle moisture. They had to 
be capable oflong periods of trouble-free 
performance with a minimum of care and 
maintenance. Above all, they had to fur- 
nish sufficient power to permit sustained 
high speeds over all kinds of terrain. 

In some types of military motor trans- 
port the engine problem could be solved 
with relative ease. Wheeled cargo and per- 
sonnel carriers, for example, had much the 
same power requirements as civilian 
trucks. Designed and developed by Amer- 
ica's automotive industry in co-operation 

Ltr, Col Joseph M. Colby to F. Gordon 
Barber, 14 May 47, OHF. (2) Barnes MS, Tank 
Development, OHF. (3) Min of Mtg with Lt Gen 
Lebedev, Deputy Chief of the Supreme Directorate of 
Armored Corps, Red Army, and Ord Intel Unit at 
Moscow. 22 Jun 44, OHF. (4) Interv, 16 Nov 51, with 
Marion W. CuSlen, Tank and Auto Br, R&D Div. 



with the Quartermaster Corps, these ve- 
hicles presented relatively few difficulties 
in point of motive power when the Ord- 
nance Department assumed responsibility 
for their design, development, and produc- 
tion in the summer of 1942, But all the 
more exasperating were the obstacles that 
had to be surmounted in powering motor- 
ized equipment such as tracked vehicles in 
general and medium tanks in particular. 
An Ordnance expert intimately ac- 
quainted with wartime automotive re- 
search and development summed up the 
situation as follows: 

Our World War II difficulties in obtaining 
an engine of approximately 500 horsepower 
for the medium tank is an excellent example 
of our military engine problem and the awful 
confusion, loss of time, inefficient utilization 
of management, manpower, facilities, and 
material occurring at a critical time. In order 
to power the medium tank we had to employ 
six improvised engines, build two new plants, 
completely tool four plants (one of them 
twice), and partially tool two plants. These 
engines came with 5,165 spare parts, 6 sets of 
tools, 6 sets of maintenance literature, and a 
constant flow of engineering changes and 
mass tests to make the improvisations suitable 
for tank use. 

The effect of this situation on training, 
supply, and maintenance is apparent. The 
fact that our tanks dominated all battlefields 
of this war is a tribute to those of the military 
and of American industry who had the re- 
sponsibility of getting tanks into the hands of 
fighting soldiers. The confusion and waste is 
chargeable directly to the fact that our lack 
of vision as a nation resulted in insufficient 
appropriations to have an engine for military 
use developed, tested, and ready for the emer- 
gency. 31 

All told, at least five factors combined to 
make the medium tank engine one of the 
thorniest problems of Ordnance research 
and development during World War II. 
First and foremost stood the peculiar power 
requirements of tanks in general. 

The tank, unlike trucks or other wheeled 
vehicles, had to operate primarily away 
from improved roads and highways and 
consequently needed a much bigger sup- 
ply of power to insure maximum speed and 
maneuverability. (See Fig. /.) In addition, 
the space limitations of the tank called for 
a power plant and installation of unusual 
compactness with no sacrifice of accessi- 
bility for quick adjustment, repair, or re- 
placement — the larger the engine, the 
larger and heavier the hull had to be, and 
the more time required for routine main- 
tenance and repairs, the longer the tank 
would be out of action. This need for com- 
pactness in turn endangered technical 
difficulties with cooling systems, air intake 
and engine exhaust arrangements, air 
filters, and the like, all of which had a di- 
rect bearing on the net horsepower avail- 
able for the primary job of propelling the 
tank. Since no analagous power or in- 
stallation requirements confronted the 
designers of commercial automotive ve- 
hicles, the Ordnance Department during 
the interwar years had had to begin vir- 
tually from scratch in arriving at any 
semblance of a solution to the tank engine 
problem. Here entered the shortage of 
funds, the second factor responsible for the 
difficulties in procuring a satisfactory en- 
gine for the medium tank during World 
War II. 

During the 1930's money for the design 
and development of a power plant specifi- 
cally adapted to the unique requirements 
of full-tracked combat vehicles had simply 
not been available. Private industry un- 
derstandably had been little interested in 
developing a specialized engine in view of 
the limited orders that the Army was able 

3t Col. Joseph M. Colby, "From Designer to 
Fighter," Armored Cavalry Journal, LIX, 1 (1950), 16. 

Chart 9 — Power for Tanks 























/ Car 




10 20 30 


— — — Available Power (Bare Engine) 

_ _ _ Total Power Required To Operate Engine 

Comparative Power Conditions for Modern Vehicles 

Gross weights (full load): 

Passenger car 

Medium tank 

Heavy duty truck . . 


. 1 3 

Source: James R. Custer, "Power for Tanks," Automotive and Aviation Industries, 
Vol. 89, No. 5 (1 September 1943), p. 17. 



to place. 35 Consequently, the Ordnance 
Department had had to compromise on 
adapting to tank use whatever existing 
type of engine would most closely live up 
to the desired standard, and the modern 
tank engine had from its very beginning 
been an improvisation. 

The Wright-Continental R-975 

The engine chosen by the Ordnance 
Department for its prewar tanks was a 
radial, air-cooled aircraft model, the Con- 
tinental R-670, later redesignated W-670. 
Practical experience had indicated that an 
engine of minimum length and with a 
cross section fitting into a square was the 
ideal answer to the space problem. Cool- 
ing by air similarly made for minimum 
bulk as well as weight, and eliminated the 
plumbing intricacies of water-cooled power 
plants. The 250 horsepower eventually de- 
livered by the Continental W-670 after 
several years of modification provided a 
high degree of mobility for the peacetime 
vehicles, which up to 1938 weighed a max- 
imum of 15 tons. Average engine life 
mounted to better than 500 hours before 
a general overhaul became necessary. In 
short, over-all performance was eminently 
satisfactory. 30 But, needless to say, for the 
30-plus-ton General Grants and General 
Shermans of World War II an output of 
250 horsepower was woefully inadequate. 
This introduces the third element of the 
medium tank engine problem — weight. 

On the basis of their favorable experi- 
ences with air-cooled radials in light ve- 
hicles, Ordnance designers in 1938 had 
looked for a more powerful engine of simi- 
lar type for the new 20-ton medium tank. 
They finally chose the 9-cylinder, 400- 
horsepower Wright Whirlwind, a power 
plant widely used in training planes and 

other light aircraft. After several engineer- 
ing changes, the first installation in the 
medium tank T5, Phase III, proved a 
marked success." The R-975, as the 
Whirlwind was known officially, was 
adopted for the recently standardized 
medium tank M2. But by mid- 1940, proof 
tests of America's newest and heaviest 
tanks had barely begun when events in 
Europe necessitated the development of 
an even heavier vehicle, the medium tank 
M3 or General Grant. With the 30-ton 
M3 the engine problem became acute as 
tests of the pilot tank at Aberdeen Proving 
Ground uncovered serious deficiencies of 
the R-975. The drawbacks of improvisa- 
tion became painfully apparent. Available 
space was insufficient for the engine itself, 
for proper cooling, and for ready access to 
accessories. Excessive oil consumption, 
carburetor air temperatures, and the like, 
substantially lowered power output and 
resulted in poor performance. "The engine 
as presently installed," reported Aber- 
deen, "is definitely underpowered. Im- 
provements to this installation have in- 
creased the horsepower available but the 
H.P./W^t. ratio is still too l